29 JANUARY 1960, Page 12

SIR. —Mr. David Craig in his somewhat hermetic review of the

Scottish anthology, Honottr'd Shade. is not perceptive enough. He quotes from a poem of mine:

Beggar up and ither beggar doun Yea tis aye the same, tis I maim aye beak stane . . .

and says, 'the effect is owed 10 Yeats':

A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot . . . 'Ireland shall get her freedom and you still break stone.'

I must claim priority in this _discovery, Alas, Mr' Craig has understood the paraphrase correctly, but has not noticed the (I should have thought) evident acknowledgement to the great Irish bard in 'Yea aye the same . . He should take to heart Gavin Douglas's advice to critics :

Considdir it warlic, reid oftair than anis; Weill at anc blink slee poetry nocht tane is.

With regard to all this, I find it a bit odd that Mr. Craig picks out this particular poem of mine as being

successful in letting 'the particular feelings of the modern man show through' the poetic diction—what" ever on earth all that means. But what about that modern old horseman—or the beggars for that matter? His last crack in this woozy kind of revio,' is super flannel : 'Poetry is now a backwater; the main- stream is fiction.' What about 'Art is now a baci:. water; the mainstream is industry,' or 'History is now a backwater; the mainstream is physics,' or 'Truth is now a backwater; the mainstream is lies,' or 'elephant: are now the backwater: the mainstream is man'---"1, 'Smith is now a backwater: the mainstream is Craig --or any other windy old crap?—Yours faithfully.

PS.---- Will you ask him how aStlYpitNehEYn(13 from bottom). 27 Dundas Street, Edinburgh 3 (3. mars?