Philip Hallie, author of Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, Tales of Good and Evil, and other books, was a Griffin Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Wesleyan University from 1963-1988. He served as acting director of the Center for Advanced Studies from 1967 to 1969. His degrees came from Harvard, Oxford and Grinnell Universities. Philip was a decorated veteran of World War II.
The Eye of the Hurricane
"In the eye of a hurricane the sky is blue and birds can fly there without suffering harm. The eye of the hurricane is in the very middle of destructive power, and that power is always near, surrounding that blue beauty and threatening to invade it . . .
In a world of moral hurricanes some people can and do carve out rather large ethical spaces. In a natural world and a social world swirling in cruelty and love we can make room. We who are not pure ethical beings can push away the choking circle of brute force that is around and within us. We may not be able to push it far away, but when we have made as much room as we can, we may know a blue peace that the storm does not know."
by Philip Hallie: October 1968
Philip and Peter Nucci: Director of The Connection.
Says Peter Nucci, Executive Director, The Connection, Inc.:
"Throughout all the years that I knew Phil, I remained in awe of his amazing ability, perception and power to lay bare the real truth from inside seemingly complex issues. That real truth, perhaps speciously hidden, was always as simple and as difficult as doing the right thing. The right thing, he showed me, was always doing good. When asked for the opposite of doing good he answered, doing nothing at all."
Phil passionately believed in doing good by helping those around him with as much direct contact as possible. Phil's conscience in actively working to perform good were the greater powers which inevitably defeat evil and despair. I loved him so, and want him to be remembered for the good he did here, in his community, through the direct contact he had, with one person and then another, and then another. Bound up within Phil's incredible vitality and leadership was his ability to inspire. I know that Phil inspired me and others to widen the eye of the hurricane."
On: "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed" by Philip Hallie
"During the most terrible years of World War II, when inhumanity and political insanity held most of the world in their grip and the Nazi domination of Europe seemed irrevocable and unchallenged, a miraculous event took place in a small Protestant town in Southern France called Le Chambon. There, quietly, peacefully, and in full view of the Vichy government and a nearby division of the Nazi SS, Le Chambon's villagers and their clergy organized to save thousands of Jewish children and adults from certain death.
The author of Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, Philip Hallie, is a philosopher whose years of research into the Holocaust and the roots of human cruelty had driven him into a deep personal despair that seemed to exclude-in his life and indeed in the world itself-even the possibility that goodness and right could still exist.
At the height of his personal and philosophical depression, Hallie stumbled across the miracle of Le Chambon. Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed is an exploration of the renewal of spirit and optimism that Hallie was able to discover in the unequaled bravery of this small village of French Hugenots who had the courage, resources and moral certainty to face evil and to resist it.
This is the story of the violent-tempered Pastor Andre' Trocme'- the "soul of Le Chambon"- whose hard-won pacifism and deep morality were the inspiration of his parishioners' life-saving activities. Here is Magda Trocme', his wife, an eminently practical woman who invited the first Jewish refugee into her home and thereby laid the foundation for Le Chambon's "kitchen resistance" against the Nazis.
Here is the gentle Edouard Theis, a missionary and teacher who survived internment in a Vichy camp despite his refusal to sign a loyalty pledge to Vichy France, and here is Daniel Trocme', Andre's cousin, who in ill health worked day and night to house, clothe and feed Jewish adolescents in a house of refuge, and then followed some of them to death in the Majdanek Camp.
Theirs is the remarkable--and until Philip Hallie's book--untold story of Le Chambon's active but nonviolent refusal to accept the invincibility of evil and brute power, of their very gradual awakening to conscience and necessity for action.
It is the story of the farmers, peasants and housewives who took refugees from all over Europe into their homes, risking their lives and the lives of their own families, and of the desperate fugitives from the Nazis, who arrived in the thousands on the doorsteps of the villagers of Le Chambon to find safety, acceptance and protection there.
Just how goodness happened in Le Chambon--and still can happen in this world--is the story told by Philip Hallie in his book.
(quoted from Harper & Row Publishers)
Professor Philip Hallie, taught at the Philosophy and Humanities Department of Wesleyan University for thirty-two years. He died in 1994, leaving the manuscript for, Tales of Good and Evil still unpublished. It was published posthumously by his devoted wife, Doris Ann Hallie, who contributed an afterword.
"Tales of Good and Evil focuses on the same theme as Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed, on what Hallie calls the "lucid mystery" of those who choose to help others in need, through the life stories of three people.
Hallie tries to understand the ambiguous decency of Major Julius Schmahling, the German officer in charge of Chambon, who looked the other way as the villagers did their rescue work.
Major Julius Schmahling
He follows his portrait of the major with a riveting account of Joshua James, the Massachusetts man who in the early nineteenth century founded the Life-Saving Rescue Service, later institutionalized by the Coast Guard, in which he and his crew of oarsmen regularly risked life and limb saving the passengers and sailors of ships foundering off the coast in violent storms.
The final section of the book is a profile of Hallie's Connecticut neighbor, Katchen Coley, who founded The Connection, an organization devoted to rehabilitating drug-and alcohol-dependent young men and women.
Tales of Good and Evil is also the story of Hallie himself, as he tries to understand his own ambiguous moral actions, first as a child in the Jewish ghetto of Chicago, fighting to protect himself and his younger brother from anti-Semitic bullies, then as a World War II artilleryman, and finally as a philosopher of ethics who realized he could be coldly objective in studying the viciousness of human beings throughout history.
In this study in moral ambiguity, written with great eloquence, we see a distinguished ethicist's concern with grasping the essence of good and evil both in daily life and under extraordinary circumstances."
(quoted from Harper Collins Publishers)
At Home and with Family
Philip and Doris's sister Leyna with grandson Daniel and friends in Nashville
Not yet a year, but yet eternity
(Poor words--those tiny shadows that
define the light!)
This dazzling little timeless time
Makes all that came before for me
A rumor circulating vaguely in shadow.
These vital eyes, the brightness of the tree
Cast all the world and Fairmont under shadow;
And I, loving you in all your bright vitality,
Feeling the light you throw upon this poor word, me,
Wish you a year of Christmases,
Of intertwining lives reborn each dawn:
Love of this life, love of these dear ones round us now
And love of this bedazzled lover, me.
Philip and son Louie at Washington State Falls
Philip and daughter Michelena in New York
No one will ever sound
Or ever find your eyes
A black cat
(Who never studies your eyes)
From your deep wells clear water,
Lions will draw your love,
But upon mankind
You cast spells,
Are a stranger,
Into your depths
We who love you
And are drawn
By a power
Greater than you,
You are too young
(Though you are eleven)
But young enough to be.
Philip and Doris
Morning was dark.
One moment the air
Around us four was
Bright with the confusion
Of our surprising love;
And then, in a moment,
You were away,
In the shadowed presence
Of the right-angled hospital,
Were moving even farther away
Two children stared at the east ahead
Struggling quietly to believe that they were
Leaving you our light and life behind,
Unable to understand the mystery
Of such emptiness of light
(After our years of ever-surprising
Brightness in each other's company).
I sat at the wheel.
My eyes moving in sockets not mine,
My hands making motions
That were part of the automobile,
Not part of me;
And somehow, mysteriously,
I was moving us three away
From you my dearest love.
I remember how it was dark,
And the east was empty,
And a vacuum, pulling us
Greater and greater distances
Lengthening and stretching our
Pathetic love for you.
But oh, my darling,
Our surprising, ever changing love
Is lighter than sunlight
Amongst us four--
And tenderness is more tender
Amongst us three,
While we live to take you in our arms,
And kiss your lips,
And make that dawn we missed
Burst surprisingly over us
At last when you return.
Grandson Daniel Valdespino and Philip known as "Poppi"
Some messengers are private
(They whisper messages in parentheses of arms).
Others are loudly sent
By the rising powers who know no secrets.
You, our darling,
Are both these Gabriels of God
Dazzline us in parentheses
And the open light of our days
Michelena, and Phil
You move in the visible world
Much as I move.
Sometimes you glide, sometimes you stumble,
Sometimes you retreat
Among the bulky objects we can see.
But in the heard world
Ah! You do not move as I do.
In the world of sounded time,
Which is invisible,
You move as priest and priestess
In pure movement which only sound can make.
For more than thirty years
You have been mysteries to me, you two,
Because the visible bulky world is my home,
Butyour home is here and others where.
Every moment I have spent with you
I have seen you crossing back and forth
Between the world of thes and space and
The world of ears and time,
And so you are both friends and mysteries to me,
The purest hearted friends I have
Because always you are being born anew
Into another world, and you are baby-like.
You have always been surprising, newly come.
Tomorrow you move away in space,
Among the bulky things,
From red sandstone to gray granite.
Oh dear friends, keep me,
And keep these others here tonight
Together with you in a third immensity,
In loving friendship.
You are my sacred friends,
Moving as priest and priestess in pure time:
Stay with me, and stay with each of us here
In the vasty places of the sounding heart.
Philip and Doris: On the Road: At Cornstack Rock in Oregon
"...solitaire and solidaire. Only one consonant separates the two words from each other, but the difference between aloneness and union is immense. We are born into separateness, then after a while we die into it, and in between our birth and our death we are strangers and afraid in a world we never made. And yet we feel solidarity with others, love, from time to time. We live out our lives apart from others and a part of others."
"Camus' Hug" The American Scholar, 1992
Farewell to dear friends, Phil and John Compton at the Hallie garden 7/75
Washington Post Writers Group
"For nearly three decades--from 1964 to last year -- students at Wesleyan University in Connecticut were blessed to have Philip Hallie as one of their professors. He taught philosophy and the humanities, with one of his goals being the leading of students to be brave enough intellectually to question their assumptions -- to be 'constituents of doubt." "Doubt," he believed "is the nerve of all fresh and durable thinking.'
At his death at 72 on Aug. 7 in Middletown, Hallie had more than thousands of former students and faculty colleagues in his debt. Through two of his books -- "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed" and "The Paradox of Cruelty" -- he had a worldwide audience of readers, grateful for his explorations into both the noblest and most barbaric bents of human behavior.
Hallie, a Jew beaten by anti-Semitics during his boyhood near Chicago and who never forgot that he had killed German soldiers as an artilleryman in world War II, unpretentiously defined himself: "I am a student and a teacher of good and evil, but for me ethics, like the rest of philosophy, is not a scientific, impersonal matter. It is by and about persons, much as it was for Socrates. Being personal, it must not be ashamed to express personal passions."
Hallie's passion -- for proof that conscience is a more powerful force than despair, that seeking good is an elemental human instinct -- flowered in the village of Le Chambon in southeastern France. He traveled there in the mid-1970's to interview local citizens -- mostly Hugenots -- whose weaponless defiance to Nazi occupiers in the first four years of the 1940s was an untold story of the war.
Hallie decided to tell it, how 3,000 isolated mountain people, wealthy only in their religious faith, risked everything by welcoming thousands of refugee Jews into their homes to hide or flee from the Nazis.
A result of the interviews was "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed," published in 1979 and, and reissued this year, enduring as a major text in the literature of peace. The book effectively answers the question forever being thrown at pacifists: without armies and guns, how do you stop a Hitler?
Villagers of Le Chambon, schooled for years in the ways of non-violent force by their pacifist pastor, had an answer: by the ethically and often tactically superior defenses of non-cooperation, secrecy and indomitable willpower. "They were trying to act in accord with their consciences in the very middle of a bloody, hate-filled war," Hallie wrote of the Chambonnais. "And what this meant for them was non-violence. Following their consciences meant refusing to hate or kill any human being. And in this lies their deepest difference from the other aspects of World War II. Human life was too precious to them to be taken for any reason, glorious and vast though that reason might be."
If "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed" displayed Hallie as a reportorial observer, "The Paradox of Cruelty," written 10 years earlier, showed a philosopher's mind agile in the way of linking theory with behavior. To help himself "turn away from the dictionaries (that defined cruelty abstractly) and look at the life of the word, " Hallie examined the slavery of blacks in America. His inspiration came after reading "Life and Times" by Frederick Douglass. This personal work about the cruelty of racism led Hallie to see it not as the day's newspaper stories about white political and judicial power over blacks.
"Ever since that day in 1619 when a Dutch slave ship brought the first 20 black people to our shores as slaves," he wrote, "America has institutionalized a kind of cruelty so massive, so long in its history, so destructive in its effects that anyone who would see institutional cruelty writ large could study that institution with profit. And more importantly, the victims of it are still being victimized by it, and are expressing their reactions now in many media and abundantly."
As a professor and writer, Hallie believed in the trinity of ideas, actions and feelings, all three being necessary to avoid succumbing to the world's absurdities or letting the ethic of violence roll on unchecked. He was a credentialed academic--a Harvard doctorate, a Fulbright and Guggenheim winner -- who also relished the simplicity of volunteering at his town's social service agency as well as the city's board of ethics. For Hallie, all philosophy was local."
(Coleman McCarthy is the founder of the Center for Teaching Peace in Washington, D.C.)
Philip at Greek ruins in Sicily
The Rainbow Message
The rainbow reminds God and man that life is precious to God, that God offers not only sentimental hope, but a promise that living will have the last word, not killing. The rainbow means realistic hope."
Portland: August 10, 1994
I'm looking for the words, but they're coming slowly, and not in bunches, the way they're supposed to.
Good. Ferocious. Gentle-man. Tough guy. Pliant. Stubborn. Heart. Muscle.
When Doris Hallie called me Sunday morning to tell me Phil had died, I went out on my back porch on that gorgeous day and began to weep.
No sissy stuff, either. There was nothing halfway about Phil, after all. These were sobs, sobs laced with prayers, especially to the writer Thomas Merton, for whom Phil and I shared a fascination and a deep and energetic devotion.
Listen, Merton, I prayed, take good care of this guy. He's smart, as smart as you and maybe smarter, and definitely tougher. Though I never met you, when I had my first conversation with Phil more than a decade ago, his arguments reminded me of yours. There was a clarity and a gentle but unmistakable force to them. Here was a man who believed in goodness and evil, not as opposites or as warring factions but as facts.
He had a big heart, huge heart, room enough for nearly everybody, but he was no sentimentalist, even as there were times he could be easily brought to tears, and over seemingly small things.
That's when I caught myself.
If anyone would have understood my tears it would have been Phil.j But while mine was an utterly human reaction -- that was something else Phil understood too, and with a precision that was all at once graceful, astonishing and deeply compassionate -- it was somehow not worthy of so singular an individual.
Phil was a man, after all, who had found goodness right in the middle of one of the darkest acts of evil in human history: the people of Le Chambon Haute-Loire. During World War II, the people of Le Chambon had, with no formal designs or broadcast agenda, sheltered and therefore saved more than 5,000 Jews, and as matter-of-factly as they might protect their own families.
The mystery of goodness fascinated Phil as much as the reality of evil perplexed him; it was a paradox with which we went back and forth in almost every conversation we'd ever had.
At lunch last year with a friend in common who was, like Phil at the time, wrestling with great and debilitating physical pain, I served as a fulcrum of sorts for an exchange about whether or not severe sickness was, in fact, evil, or merely something God permits.
Both these cherished people, Phil and Sallie, had undergone a sort of transcendence because of their respective illnesses, and the bond of Marcus Auerlius tied them together as firmly as Merton did Phil and me. Sallie had reintroduced Phil to the Roman because his words had brought her so much solace.
They brought the same to Phil -- only more so. He took to his ancient colleague's observations that "the art of living is more like wrestling than dancing" with a perception so keen it was like an idealogical icicle slicing right to the point.
"Do you realize," he asked, "How little of what you have you really use until you have to fight just to do the simple stuff?"
He was holding up his hand. "It's as though you've got this incridible thing, the human hand, all these intricate little bones and tendons and muscles but for most of your life you're only using your thumb and one finger. Until, let's say, you bash your thumb with a hammer. You can either look at the thumb as a loss or realize hey, Ive got got four other fingers and I've never really used them."
It's not as though Phil was an optimist. Rather, he had faith, a fighter's faith that the only force agaisnt evil was sthe simple fact of the human spirit.
If love was "the thing with feathers" to Emily Dickinson, it was the thing with muscle to Phil. It wasn't passive or squooshy. It was a challenge.
In the preface to the 1944 edition of "Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed," the book Phil wrote about Le Chambon in 1979, he tells of the controversy his book had stirred up.
Some wrote him to say they found it wrong he could have found something so life-affirming amid so much death, and that the small events of history, the truly human ones, didn't really count.
But then there was the woman who stood up after a talk he gave who told him the people of Le Chambon had saved all three of her children.
An then, Phil wrote: "She came to the front of the room, turned to face the audience and said, 'The Holocaust was storm, lightning, thunder, wind, rain, yes. And Le Chambon was the rainbow.'
"A few people in the room gasped, while she and I looked at each other and I said "The rainbow," and she nodded slowly.
"We understood each other."
And there was this, on the preceeding page, from a letter a teenaged girl had written him:
"I have finished the book now, and I wish I could tell you how much it has helped me. Every time I will look at your book in my bookcase, it will be like hearing two words. . . Don't cry!"
And every time I will run the conversations I've had with him over in my head, it will be like hearing those two words and more.
Don't cry. Instead live life in awe of how remarkable it is. Fight, argue, struggle, love. And always with everything you've got.
"Life is too important," his daughter Michelena said he told his doctor a few months ago, "to be taken casually."
That wasn't just something he knew. It was how Phil Hallie lived. With shining ferocity."
(At the time this was written Kathy O'Connell was arts and entertainment editor for the Middletown Press)
Philip in Italy
"Goodness is not a doctrine or principle. It is a way of living."
"The bad guy they shot down daddy,
And the sweet guy had a high horse.
Why did they shoot the bad guy down, daddy,
And what's so sweet about a high horse?"
Don't wrinkle your skin about that, baby;
The good goes up and the bad comes down.
I'll unwrinkle your brow with a song baby,
And your dreams will go up while your body goes down:
Close your eyes and good night
There is nothing around you;
Only life, death, pleasure, pain,
And it's all far from you.
Close your eyes and good night
It's so easy to do dear.
There is nothing but your own skin
When you don't want men near.
Close your eyes and good night
Use your own built-in shroud
Use a word dear and a sneer
And you close out the crowd.
Mr. Philip Hallie: Our Board President & Member of the Board, 1980-1994
"The Connection, Inc., founded in 1972, began as the first substance abuse treatment program in Middlesex County, Connecticut. Mr. Philip Hallie served as Connection's Board President and member of the Board from 1980 through 1994. Under his guidance, The Connection has grown into 18 separate programs, all community based, throughout the State, helping people in 5 service areas: Substance Abuse Services, Sexual Abuse Services, Community Justice Services, Youth Programs, and Residential Supported Living."
His words never tried to trick or beguile you, instead they came from his heart full of truth, strength and love. When he spoke to you, he met your eyes firmly and immediately. Somehow you felt that Mr. Hallie could see the real you and very avidly wanted to hear your thoughts. In his eyes you saw, inexplicably, all of humanity's cruelty and kindness in one fell swoop. Moments or decades spent with Mr. Hallie are cherished, for there surged from him an unstoppable love of life. Through his lifetime Mr. Hallie sought connections with other people, which in and of themselves fueled his inextinguishable passion for life, work and philosophy.
This remarkable man, Philip Hallie, died on Sunday, August 7, 1994 at the Middlesex Hospital Hospice. Even during his last days and last hours, Mr. Hallie savored the eyes, faces, hands and words around him. These final bonds were not held back for family members alone, but given with simplicity and candor to the nurses who brought him tea or to those who swept his room. Many members of the Hospice staff spoke emotionally to Mrs. Hallie about the extraodrinary connections they had experienced with her husband.
The Connection also feels an exceptional bond with Mr. Hallie, who served as our Board President and member for the past 14 years. We have felt his truth and inspiration, as by a luminary. Our words, also from our hearts, stand in tribute to his memory and are dedicated to his wife, Doris, and children, Michelena and Louie.
Founder of "The Connection"Katchen Coley with friend Allison C. Guinness
Katchen Coley, Connection's founder, reflected on why she had approached Mr. Hallie to become the Board's President:
"You see, I had known Phil and his work for many years, and of course I was very fond of him. He studied and believed absolutely in evil and good, as distinctly as down and up. Choosing him seemed quite natural to me, for as I saw it, drugs, an evil element, could be banished from good people. The Connection made this possible, simply and literally, destroying evil with good resulting. Phil was immediately drawn to this. Obviously everyone realizes the powerful good he brought with him."
Jennifer Sullivan, The Eddy Homeless Shelter Coordinator, sent a letter to Mrs. Doris Hallie on August 8, 1994. Doris graciously shared these words:
"I only had the privilege to meet your husband a handful of times. From these few visits I understood what my work with the Connection is all about. Phil was touring the homeless shelter. He walked through the hallways without hesitation. Most Eddy shelter guests, during a tour, hang their heads low and the professional is equally embaressed. This was not the case with Phil. He looked directly into the eyes of the client and stuck out his hand in friendship. He was proud to meet them. This is what Mr. Hallie taught me. I am proud to work for the homeless and I am proud to work for the agency of which your husband was the President."
Carl Rodenhizer, Development Director:
"I respected Mr. Hallie from the moment I met him, and truly, felt an honor to work with him as our Board President. First of all I found him always more than sincere on every project. In other words, he took projects on with emotion and firm committment. In fact, Mr. Hallie was truly committed to our programs and their efforts to make a difference in peoples' lives for the better. He worked very hard to diffuse tension, therby helping us all to work cooperatively for the same goals. He took a personal interest in all our problems and worked hard to resolve conflicts. Also, which I admired greatly, Mr. Hallie always supported our new initiatives to help others in need. I'll miss him very much."
William Farrell, Director, The Connection House:
"When I first met Mr. Hallie many years ago, we were still just a tiny little company. And actually, I didn't know what I wanted to do, to stay or move on. But Phil coming aboard just then made a tremendous difference to me. Obviously, because look, I'm still here. When I first had hear that this famous, published, Wesleyan professor was arriving I thought 'oh no, another do gooder who won't do much'.
Well, what a surprise I had coming to me, for immediately I realized there was something amazing about Phil. After a few intense conversations with him, I knew that I would not leave. Phil had given me a sense of how important all this stuff was that we were doing to help people. Strangely, everything he said rang so clearly in my own brain, that this very brilliant man was able to put into words beliefs I already held. I felt incredibly inspired by him, and luckily I had many opportunities to work on various projects with him and just talk to him too.
Once, by the river at Harbor Park, stands out as one of the most fascinating and inspirational afternoons of my life. His words and stories struck me with such truth and force: about his new book, the nazis, the simple goodness of villagers in France who saved children. I can hardly talk about it, really. Another time he called and said 'We're going on television today. Fine? Good. We'll just talk about what we do.'
And that's what we did. No committees, no processing, just boom!, we told what is just and good about helping people in our program. He also was extremely interested in helping the clients through direct contact. I loved many things about Phil, I certainly did. As I said, he is the reason I've stayed so long. I can hardly think of the place without him."
Sallie Hayden, Communications Coordinator:
"I feel honored to have even known Philip Hallie. The respect I feel for his intense grappling and dissecting every form of human atrocity remains inexpressible. For even though that philosophic nightmare, he found the French villagers. he never lost sight of such goodness. I considered him one of the kindest and most compassionate persons I have ever met, always helping others, continuously marvelling at life aroud him. I loved him with all my heart."
Pat Clarke, Head Counselor, The Connection House, reflected:
"I've respected Phil for many years as a scholar and a man of ethics, plus I'd read his powerful book Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. Fortunately I met him in person about a year ago when he arrived at the Connection House to tell his life story, thereby hoping clients would do the same. He believed that the one true course of self knowledge was in such narration. At first I could tell the clients were very wary about having this famous guy preaching to tell them what they've done wrong and how to fix it all up.
But nothing like that occurred. he came in, looked at each of us right in the eye, and told it straight about his life, and who he was. No advice, no bragging, or lecturing. Simply the truth. Towards the end, we all became visibly moved by the power and beauty of his story. Soon the clients' life stories came pouring out, with no hesitation or shame. We felt lifted into another dimension without stereotypes or judgements. Many of the clients and I maintained a close letter writing bond with Mr. Hallie. His loss is so difficult, but with my memories and correspondence, I'll always have a connection."
Lisa DeMatteis, Director, Women and Children's Center, spoke:
"This is very difficult because Phil meant so much to me personally as well as professionally. I considered him a wonderful friend in that he was always there for me during times of stress. I knew that he cared about me as much as I cared about him. He was aware of many fearful events in my life, and even though his own health failed him, he still took time to think of me. I loved him very dearly.
Professionally, as President of Connection's Board of Directors, I thought of him as the life blood and reason for our being in existence. He had helped me countless times when it came to really reaching the women at my center. Mr. Hallie always did and thought what was good and the entire community knew it. The Connection will have a hard time replacing such a powerful and honorable force."
(Notes for Tales of Good and Evil; Help and Harm: by Philip Hallie)
"... But there was something in this that was true and meaningful: Duty is like fire -- it can burn it and it can warm us and sustain life. Her kind of duty was deeply helpful to the weak and the lost, but not very helpful for her. She continues to fight for basically lost causes, but has her little victories -- though the victories do not matter to her, nor do the defeats -- what matters is doing her duty, that ambiguous thing of doing your duty and letting the chips fall.
This is home to me, in Middletown, and I feel a bit of it in my work with The Connection, in my teaching ethics to high school kids, and other activities. There is such a thing as duty, and duty that spreads life and love more than it does pain, and it is as close as your own life to you."
Philip at the Cevenol Mountains near Le Chambon
"A righteous act is perfect in itself--wherever or whenever it is."
No, Don't make me try
To tame the water that this darkening sky
Is revealing now.
Two frightened boys
(Afraid of the dear and brutal joys
Of darkness) talk.
And as one speaks
The little lights along the shore become my weeks
Each word a Septuagint.*
No, my girl
I shall refuse to measure fathoms to the pearl.
Let me be still.
Or if I talk
Let all this living death, this darkness, stalk
Around my words.
And then let it crunch both them and thee
In its blank teeth
*Suzanna, Philip had written "Septagent" here. I could not find that word in the dictionary, but I did find Septuagint," original Greek word for the Old Testament translated by 70 or 72 Jewish scholars. I just am not sure. Do you know the word, Septagent? Philip loved to use words that could make you stop a moment and think and learn.
SOME ADDITIONAL POETRY BY PHILIP HALLIE
Yesterday I peeled off the green, the
Flowers and trees with their birds warbling.
Yesterday I saw the dark guts,
Life crushing life, crumbling dust.
Yesterday the green was the dream;
The food of my mind was a skunk between the
Highway and heaven, its guts turning black
While the snail's invisible saliva stuck.
The day before that the purple pansies tasted sweet,
The curve of a birch was the curve of my soul,
White though maculate; heaven and earth
United in air by the purples, the curves.
The green that I saw shone green in my joy
Was thicker than life and higher than fear,
And I ate of the world, drank of the light,
Hoped with a skip, and leapt with gleam.
Today, grass and flowers, trees and birds
Stand off around me blunt and moving
Objects of a finger not of a dream
Naked of passion, hung in space.
Sweet God: Did you hide yourself from our eyes
Abscond from our sense so that Paradise
Could never be hurt by a heart that lies?
(Originally titled, Don Juan 1963)
With a ho and hee and a hi
With a fast hello
And a slow good-bye
I can steal your lovely girls
I can filch your perfumed pearls
I can win the sexual battles--
(Though I lose the war.)
With a ho and a hee and a hi
With a hunter's ear
And a sincere eye
I can grab them by their hips
I can pass right through their loving lips
I can make my sex true north--
(Though I lose my way).
With a ho and a hee and a hi
With a narrow head
And one last try
I can take a grateful dame
I can feel my heart grow tame
I can see her loving eyes
(Though I spit on us all).
Little old lady
Hooked and stiff
With a dress black and white
And arm outstretched
Standing on the porch,
And saying to her darkness:
"Isn't it nice to know
That when you come
To a place like this
No nigger sits
Next to you?"
And the world writhes a little,
snagged on the hook.
The Former Major Julius Schmahling
The Protestant Temple in Le chambon
Go to: The Landscape of John Risley
to: A Shop For Dreamers