Readers' forum

``I do believe the delightful articles written For Young Readers should be retitled `For Young in Heart Readers,''' writes Eleanor Gilman of Campbell, Calif. ``What I don't know or remember could fill libraries, so to be enlightened, after 60 years or so, is most rewarding to most of us out here in readers' land.''

After reading Eugene McCarthy's article, ``I have tried to help bluebirds,'' Jan. 22, Fred Goldsmith of Walton, N.Y., has a suggestion:

``This is not my idea, but came from Miss Edna Craig, a biology teacher who taught this subject in the Newburgh, N.Y., high school system. I also believe she wrote a book on biology that was used in the New York state school system.

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``To attract bluebirds, she advised, make the nest as prescribed in the usual written descriptions, but never use new material.

``Use only wood that comes from some abandoned house or barn. The older the better. Place on top of a fence post that is in a clear and undisturbed area. This is, she advised, so that the bird can observe all enemies and also have quick access to food supplies.

``I followed her advice and for 10 years, while I lived there, a bluebird occupied the house. The more elaborate, better built, newer wooded nests I built never attracted bluebirds.''

Elaine Rankin of Melbourne, Fla., sent Edgar Guest poems with illustrations, including the one above for the poem ``The Better Job,'' to forward to Pan Xiaoming in China. This fan of American poetry is described in Roderick Nordell's ``To make his speaking beautiful,'' Dec. 23, 1986. ``I was six years old when my mother collected these from the Graham auto company,'' she writes. ``There is a suggestion that the poems were read aloud on a weekly radio program.

``Thank you for Home Forum and for sending the poems on to Pan Xiaoming.''

Our readers know no bounds in their kindness or their locations! From Bo, Sierra Leone, Selma Bair wrote, ``Today as I sat in my mud and cement house I read `Moroccan encounter' [by Sarah Chayes, Oct. 6, 1986; World Edition Oct. 20-26]. I almost cried. I am also a Peace Corps volunteer. I have faced the same requests for food, shoes, medical supplies, taking children to America, etc. At first I had no idea how to handle it. At last I simply said, `No.' The requests at last slowed. Now I laugh and say, `No.' They laugh as well.

``About six months after coming to Njombohun in Sierra Leone I was ready to go home. I informed everyone that I would be leaving at the end of the school year. Then on the night of March 31, 1985, during a rainstorm, I had my motorcycle stolen. I was in Bo, the province capital. By the time I reached Njom-bohun, the entire village (700 people) knew.

``The first thing to happen was my neighbor offered me the use of his bike. Then all these people who had been `begging' me started to stop by to see if they could pick up anything at the market for me. There is no market in my village. Then people started leaving off produce from their gardens. The next thing I knew my two years were up and time had come for me to go home, but I didn't. I have extended for a third year. My village is too wonderful to leave after two short years.

``Oh, all the learning that goes on as a Peace Corps volunteer. It is worth it....

``I strongly urge people to seek out volunteer work. There is so much that can be done. Volunteer work shows that you care and caring is what will save this world, love and caring.''

Home Forum columnist (and reader) John Gould saw an extra ``go'' in the introduction to the John Masefield ``loose-leaf library,'' Jan. 6. ``In the 1930s,'' he writes, ``Poet Laureate John Masefield read from his works at Bowdoin College, and along with a few favored folks I visited with him after hearing him `do' his Reynard the Fox. I had noticed that the first line of his `Sea-Fever' comes in two versions, so I asked him how it should be. He said he expected the perversity of anthologists would keep him misquoted forever, and that he wrote the line: `I must down to the seas again ...'

``Not, as some anthologies have it, `go down.' He cited some other lines of poetry that have been similarly misquoted, and I recall one of them was Stevenson's `Home is the sailor, home from sea.' Not, as sometimes rendered, `... home from the sea.'''

Thanks. We'll try not to be perverse with great lines of poetry. And thanks to several readers who caught us crediting author Carlos Castaneda with a painting that was really done by artist Alfredo Castaneda, just as Theodore Wolff wrote in his article, ``A touch of surreal wit,'' Jan. 29.

From Johannesburg, South Africa, Norah and Edmund Benjamin write, ``Thank you for Doris Peel's article `Like a tune starting up again' [July 24, 1986; World Edition Aug. 4-10]. It told us so much and really touched the heart of the problem. First of all a glimpse inside the newsroom and editorial offices of our newspaper, then a reminder of some `white' reaction to Alan Paton's book (a reaction that is far too common, even today), and then attempts by an `uitlander' and a native-born South African to come to grips with themselves and with an obviously unreal situation. Here, in this country, the force of evil, ignorance - and its children, fear, hatred, and greed - seem so large and formidable and outside the country a reluctance to do what should be done and what eventually will have to be done.

``I think that we are not nearly grateful enough for our Leader's establishing the Monitor with its sane and understanding perspective, with its efforts to span the whole range of human experience from atom bombs to our individual difficulties, and for its printing of articles such as this one to show us that we are not alone and others have the same problems to face.''

``Readers' land'' is a big place, as big as our readers' hearts. Thank you!

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