Alley, Rewi. Fragments of Living Peking and Other Poems. Ed. H. Winston Rhodes. Christchurch: New Zealand Peace Council, 1955.Since there was so much response to my post on Duggan's copy of Hopkins, here are some pictures of another, not dissimilar, find I made a couple of years ago in a second-hand shop in Devonport: Rewi Alley's previous book Leaves from a Sandan Notebook (1950). Book Council site), two years after the publication of this book, and so he was probably looking to Alley more as a source of information than of poetic inspiration.
A wandering Lama from Kumbum looks in, sees the boiler, puts hands together. Says 'Om mane padme um.' and scuttles head down. [p.43]Mason's note at the top of the page seems to read "ambivalent attitude born of practical acquaintance."
So do we start anew, with new wine in old bottles, as we have been taught not to do. Yet, is the wine so new? Perhaps it has just been mellowing these thousands of years, now is ripe for using ... [p.44]There's something rather moving about these carefully marked passages, written long before the Cultural Revolution, the Gang of Four, and all the other great disillusionments really started to take their toll. As with Mason's career as a whole, I feel, it's best to listen patiently than commit oneself to hasty, pat judgments - "ambivalent attitude born of practical acquaintance", in fact.