Walter Benton: The Passionate Poet

By: Larry L. Conners

Walter Benton has been my bedside companion for a very long time, going back to college where I discovered him 50 years ago. I have shared him with many " creatures of an hour ", most intimately with my beautiful bride, and have never tired of his passionate and lyrical prose.

Walter Benton was born in Austria, in 1907, to a Russian couple. They fled to America with the coming of the First World War in 1913. After high school, Benton worked several menial jobs until he had enough money to put himself through Ohio University, graduating in 1934. After working as a window washer, steel plant worker, and salesman, he finally landed a position with the City of New York as a social investigator. With the onset of World War Two he enlisted in the Army, being commissioned a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps, later being promoted to Captain.

At the end of the war he returned to his position with the City of New York and began writing prose, being published in the Yale Review, Fantasy, and the New Republic. His first published volume, " This is My Beloved ", a diary from 1943 put to verse, was very controversial due to the graphic intensity of his prose. Some even called it pornography. It has since been hailed as a remarkable journey of love, love lost, and love unrequited. It is recognized as an American classic.

Here are a few of my favorite snippets from " This is My Beloved ", better appreciated in context, but giving you a feel of the intense passion, his use of metaphor and simile, and the stark clarity of his love:

Entry May 4

You rise out of sleep like a growing thing rises out of the garden soil.

Two leaves part to be your mouth, two tender seed leaves...and your eyes are wonderfully starlike,

Your eyes are luminous and soft as the velvet of pansies.

Darling, good morning.

The entry continues with a rather passionate awakening.

Entry May 11

Your hair is not like the silk of corn or spiders but like your hair, your mouth resembling nothing so wonderfully much as your own mouth.

Why should I say you are like a slender water bird on wing ? This is but a slide of you, a fraction. Or that your thighs are lilies...lilies are cold, lilies are neither quick nor scented....they do not stain the night with velvet musk...they cannot fire love and quench it.

I mean.....compliments become you as tinsel becomes a tall snow covered cedar in a mountain cedar wood.

I love the visual beauty of his writing.

Entry June 8

( After a long night of lovemaking )....Now you are all sleep, alone with yourself...and a tall blue fence around you: not a tendon taut, not a secret secret, you are all sleep and alone in a warm and velvet world...

Many an idle dream is looking for a home of sleep like yours to happen in.

Entry June 12

Sleep late, nobody cares what time it is. Sunday morning, coffee in bed....then love with coffee flavored kisses. And your tongue dripping honey like a ripe fig.

I have been hours awake looking at you lithely at rest in the free natural way rivers bed and clouds shape.

Your bedgown gathers up your full round thighs, rolls over your hips. Your breasts are snub like childrens faces...your navel deep

as a god's eye.

He published only two volumes of prose, " This is My Beloved ", followed in 1948 with " Never a Greater Need ". The first is a diary of new love, a deep and passionate love that slowly becomes a tragic hell he cannot escape. When I first read his August 9 entry about forgetting her in each season, I wept.

He dedicates the first volume to Lillian, so we are reasonably certain she did exist. The last is a dark and sad diary of love lost and love unrequited, and ends with stark wartime images he cannot forget. Walter Benton died in 1976, bitter and alone.

This is such a tragic and poignant story, A love story, during the war, where two souls are united in need... his to last a lifetime, hers to end when he recognizes that she is " marketing your love ", as he writes in the November 19 entry.

The writing is so powerful, his descriptions of Lillian are so full of love. How could she have left..? I feel his tragic love and pain every time I read him.

I have also found a wonderful cd, " The Family of Mann ", featuring Herbie Mann ( Jazz ) and Sir Lawrence Harvey reading excerpts from " This is My Beloved ".

OK, you guys. You want to have a great evening around the fireplace with your wife or girlfriend ( hey, a wife is a girlfriend ), then pick up " This is My Beloved ",put on the cd, pour your favorite adult beverage, put out a box of Kleenex, and revel in a love for the ages.


This is My Beloved
This is My Beloved
The Family of Mann
The Family of Mann

Comments 90 comments

sligobay profile image

sligobay 7 years ago from east of the equator

Maven, you are a poet and a remarkably sensitive meunsch. Before this Hub, i had been inspired along these lines with some hubs and poems of my own. I am delighted to be informed of the artistic greatness of a tortured soul such as Benton was. G


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

Maven, I completely understand why you love Benton so much... Thank you SO much for inspiring me to go get the book! (This Weekend!) And even though I may not be able to read it aloud, I am SURE I will be touched. Wonderful hub maven! Now, how about one on Keats??? :)


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Sligobay....thank you for the kind comment....and you, sir, are a gentleman and scholar, and will forever be my friend when you gave me the Semper Fi salutation in another Hub....

Mama...what can I say...you are an enigma, a mystery wrapped in a conundrum...probably a soul mate...thank you for the comments...why can you not read him aloud...? You should scream his words of passion, whisper his words of love, cry with him when he hurts...this is prose meant to be experienced, and not alone....

Keats will be difficult for me, on many levels...If I can get past my pesky emotionalism I will try as you suggest.


pricelessway profile image

pricelessway 7 years ago from United Kingdom

Hi Maven101,

I love your narratives; it gets me right into a book! And I come out roped up with lots of emotions! Amazing.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thank you, Priceless....your comments are indeed priceless..!

I try to point you in the right direction, but it will be Walter Benton that will gin up your emotional engine...he has done so for me for many years now....Cheers


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 7 years ago from South Africa

Hi Maven - thanks for the fascinating Hub about I poet I do not know at all. So I did what I always do when faced with something unknown - I Googled him and came up with a sax player born in 1930! That's the only article in Wikipedia on a Walter Benton. I think you could write one on the poet for Wikipedia!

Of course your Hubs came up in the search as well, which is good news for you!

Also the Family of Mann CD which as a jazz fanatic I am going to try to find immediately.

This is what I love about HubPages - there's always something new that Hub friends lead me to.

Loved the Hub. Small point - a "dairy" is not the same as a "diary"!

Love and peace

Tony


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thanks, Tony...The Herbie Mann CD is terrific jazz and the monologue by Sir Lawrence Harvey is powerful

I can't believe I wrote dairy, not once, but three times...since corrected...to err is human... but McGurk will not forgive...


EYES CHAMbERS 7 years ago

I AM SO LOST IN THOSE WORDS...YOU HAVE ME CONVINCEDTO HAVE TO READ MORE!


issues veritas 7 years ago

Maven,

I have a question that you could possibly answer.

Recreational literature has never been on my agenda, unless it was required in school. That would make it not recreational but I was exposed to it. I don't believe that I was ever required to read poetry.

What are the attributes that poetry has to describe something, that is lacking in prose? Is there a relation between song writing and poetry.

Thanks


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Eyes...After reading your sensitive and honest profile I can understand why you would respond to Walter Benton....He is all about love, and the necessary pain that intrudes in the real world...I am so glad for you that your father is back in your life...It is so important for children to have a father figure in their lives, and lucky you, you have two..!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Issues...Poetry, unfortunately, is seldom exposed to pre-college students...unless you have an enlightened English teacher, like Sister Kazamara, whom I was fortunate to have in high school...

You asked "What are the attributes that poetry has to describe something, that is lacking in prose "? First, we need to define prose. Prose, as you are speaking to, would be the use of language as used in ordinary speech, much less artificially constructed as poetry ( " the best use of words in the best order ").

Another use of prose is called " free verse ", which is unrestricted, free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness words without the poetic disciplines of rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, and other subscribed elements of poetry. This last is the "prose " I am referring to with Walter Benton...

The evocation of emotions, the sensual appreciation created by this type of prose poetry, if you will, cannot be equivocated with ordinary speech.

The use of metaphor and simile lay open the poetic descriptions and bring us to an intimate association with the poet, or just with the poem.

In my case, I truly felt Walter's terrible loss and pain. Few things bring me to tears, but I have to tell you, every time I read him, particularly his 2nd volume, " No Greater Need ", I need to be alone, or with someone I love and trust.

Is there a relationship between song writing and poetry..? Yes indeed. The one is set to music, the other to meter. Song writing, backed by provocative music, can be just as stimulating, sensual, and emotive as the best poetry ever written.

A couple of examples come to mind. " Ruby ", sung by Kenny Rogers, and " Lying Eyes ", by the Eagles. I'm a sucker for cowboy blues. Both these songs produce both anger and sadness.

Music and poetry is like art: It's in the eye of the beholder...Larry


issues veritas 7 years ago

Maven,

Thanks for the insight and details.

I like to use metaphos and I can rhyme unfortunately without converying emotion.

Your answer has stirred more questions which I have to ponder as I go hiter to and yonder of which I think you will be less fonder.

not poetry but rhyning without meaning, apparently my gift. :)


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

very nice article


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

HAW !!! Issues.....Tis not what you say, or what you may, but what you do where you play...

This kind of poetry is sort of like playing tennis without a net...Larry


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thanks, Lgali...Have you read him...?


issues veritas 7 years ago

Maven, I find the net keeps trapping the ball.

Thanks,


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

Well, I missed out on book shopping, but as you see, I am back here again...

I am thinking about writing yet another poetic "prose", I'm just waiting for the right mood and inspiration to come along. In the meantime, I have been publishing other "non-related" stuff, just to pass the time by.

By the way Maven, have you read my hub "Laughter for the Heart & Soul"? (You inspired me for PART of this one!!!)

}i{


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Shannon....I just finished reading your hilarious Hub...now let me guess what PART I inspired you to write about....hmmmmm....would it perchance have something to do with my hirsute challenged pate..??? Hmmmm ( bows head, waits expectantly for platonic peck )...


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 7 years ago from New York

...and AS he bows his head, feather hat under arm, the sunlight shines down on his "hirsute challenged pate", ...reflects in my mind's eye, and ALAS! ...The platonic peck... You blinded me, mate! COVER YE' SOLAR PANEL!- RECHARGE LATER!!!...

(wink...wink)

}i{


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Thanks maven101. I will now become a fan of this poet Benton. I'm excited


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

CC...I am excited for you...discovering a new writer that speaks to your heart and soul is always exciting..


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

maven101 not yet but i will do later


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Lgali... He may be a bit hard to find...your best bet is probably Amazon....I think I saw " This is my Beloved " there...he only published two volumes of poetry including " No Greater Need "....His is the kind of poetry you can read over and over again and still perceive new insights with each reading....


Douglas of Chicago  7 years ago

To read Benton and to fee his words, really lets you in on something so intimate. Over the years, the language of love is felt, spoken, written, read and remembered, if it is a treasure. "This is my beloved" is a treasure...for all times.

I discovered this, Benton's first volume among my dear great aunt's things some years ago after her passing away. Her copy was a gift, inscribed by a gentleman, (unknown to me) was published as perhaps one of the first edition off the press. I say this because the date on the inscription was 1945.

This is written in loving memory of my aunt who was dearly loved by family and friends at Tougaloo College, University of Chicago and undoubtedly many places along her lifes path.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Douglas...Your Aunt seems an inspirational soul to be remembered in this way...

Wow..! An early edition of Benton's " This is my Beloved " is extremely rare...I can only remark on the many readings of pleasure it must have given her and her friend...A real treasure for you in many ways...

Thanks for your heartfelt comments...


Liz Beth 7 years ago

Arthur Prysock tells Benton story ever so well. I have not heard "The family of Mann". But I heard Prysock when I was 19 and I still listen to the story. His story fills my soul, I'm 55 now.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thanks for the comment, Liz....

I have heard the Prysock recording " This is my Beloved " which was put out several years after the Herbie Mann recording with recitation by Laurence Harvey... I must say, Prysock and Billy Eckstine were my two favorite jazz baritones, but when it comes to recitation with feelings of deep love and unbearable hurt I think Harvey is worlds away...He was a trained shakespearean actor of the first rank and the emotion he generates is incomparable ...

Prysock's " My Funny Valentine " is better than Billy X's I believe...

 


focus on living profile image

focus on living 7 years ago from United States

This is why I love reading hubpages. The introduction to something new and moving. The sharing of something touching and deep that leaves marks upon ones own soul provides me, the reader, with such a gift.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

FOL: Thank you for the sharing comments...I agree, there is something special about reading that generates a profound emotional and intellectual response not found in other media...rereading a particular passage of intimate passion connects on a personal level that can touch the soul, inspire new insights, and challenge our way of looking at interpersonal relationships...


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Like TonyMac04, I had not heard of Benton -- thanks for the introduction to his work.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Teresa...Sadly, Walter only published the two diaries, This is my Beloved and No Greater Need...sometimes an entire life can be expressed, poignantly, with just a few pages...his life began and ended with his relationship with Lillian....that is a love so deep, so all-consuming, that few of us ever realize...I love my wife, passionately, but I'm not sure that love is as consuming, as total, as Benton's....

Now I'm in trouble...


tomatogal 7 years ago

Lovely! And I found Benton's THIS IS MY BELOVED in a junk shop bin. Can you imagine? It reminds me, in tone (but much less graphic language) of John Ciardi's I MARRY YOU. Benton, however goes totally for broke emotionally, and bares body and soul in his completely raw, exposed love verses. I couldn't put it down...and I am afraid if I end it out I'll NEVER get it back!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

NO, No, No,...never lend it out...instead share it with your friend(s) and enjoy his uninhibited and joyous love together...Now, his 2nd dairy, No Greater Need, is different..you may want to lend it out, because it should be read alone, the emotions provoked may overwhelm and the sadness and futility expressed will kick in emotional responses quite unexpected....Larry


puppascott profile image

puppascott 7 years ago from Michigan (As far as you know...)

Thanks you for the brief education, Maven. I truly enjoyed the excerpts you chose.

Scott.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thank you Scott...His passion was really something to behold...such love, such despair.! I never tire of reading him, nor does my wife..he is truly a bedside companion...Larry


Ms Chievous profile image

Ms Chievous 7 years ago from Wv

I enjoyed the pieces of poetry you selected. I will have to read more of your hubs... I know nothing about poetry!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Ms Chievous...Thank you for stopping by...You don't really have to know anything about poetry...like art, poetry is a sensual experience, only verbally, not visually...although some poems and prose will generate brilliant images in your mind...Like Russ Baleson has said, don't try to understand the poem, just feel it with your heart and soul...Speak it out loud, savor the ebb and flow of the words...Walter Benton once described a shooting star " Like God striking a match across the cathedral ceiling "...you have a whole new world in front of you...go out and enjoy...Larry


Denny Lyon profile image

Denny Lyon 7 years ago from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA

Thank you for introducing me to a poet from the past! Who knew there was such a good market for passionate emotions a century later? Cool! It is a delight to read a deep poet when there is such "surface" poetry without much deep thought, revision or polish littered online. Thanks for the word treat, much appreciated!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Thank you for stopping by Denny...Your comments are well taken and discerning for someone under 40...Larry


habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

I'm into poetry, also. I'm a retired teacher of British Literature, so I guess it goes with the territory!

Nice hub.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi habee...I have to say, English Lit was my favorite course...My Latin teacher, Sister Kazamara, doubled as the EngLit teacher...I still laugh when I remember her, with her heavy Russian accent, reading Keats, Byron, and especially Chaucer...Thanks for stopping by and commenting...Larry


habee profile image

habee 7 years ago from Georgia

Enjoyed this so much I read it twice! I'll have to read more from this poet. I wish I had 1/10 of his ability with words and emotions!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

habee...You should be able to get his " This is my Beloved " and " No greater Need " through Amazon....His poetry is meant to be read aloud, with company...and maybe a glass of wine or two...thanks for the comments, I know you will enjoy his passion as much as I have over the years...Larry


I*n*v*i*c*t*u*s profile image

I*n*v*i*c*t*u*s 7 years ago

I really enjoyed your expressions of Benton! I had not heard of him before, yet you've sold me on reading his works. I love deeply expressive prose. Thanks, Larry! :)


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Invictus...I knew you would like Benton...your expressive poetry resonates with his passion...I have been reading poetry all my life, and Benton's prose keeps pulling me back...back into that early, passionate love and into that hell of rejection...I actually find new nuances in his prose almost every time I read him...Lillian was his ideal, his apex of transcendent love, and his long and tortured fall from that summit defines his life and inspires mine...Thanks for stopping by...Larry


Aloah Johnson 7 years ago

I have loved This Is My Beloved since I was 19 years old. It was too beautiful for me to truly appreciate in my youth. I have read and reread this beautiful book a thousand times and I am old enough now to appreciate each and every word. There is a beautiful CD of the book with narration by Arthur Prysock that is breath taking.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Aloah...Thanks for stopping by and commenting...Yes, I have a copy of the Prysock recording, but I still think the Sir Laurence Harvey recording is superior...Larry


Jeanne 7 years ago

Benton has long been a favorite of mine as well. My first novel draws on lines of his poetry for the title and many passages in the story. While working to obtain permission to use his words, I became acquainted with his niece who was able to grant that permission shortly before she passed. Mr. Benton (Walter Potashnik) lived with his niece for many years before moving to a long-term care facility where he died in 1976. From information I've gotten, I know he and Lillian were married but the reasons for their breakup remain hidden in Benton's poems. I purchased the Prysock recording and was sorely disappointed in the tone as he read. Where is the romance that Benton exuded? Glad to find another fan!

Cordially,

Jeanne


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jeanne...Wow, to have conversed with Benton's niece..! So many questions come to mind...You have answered one such with the revelation, hitherto unknown to me, that Lillian was indeed married to Walter....Why would she " market " her love..?

There is so much passion, and pathos, in Benton's prose with every line he writes...No filler with him...everything laid out bare-bones, immediate still, a love and passion we all long for, and some find...Did you find his " Never a Greater Need " emotionally hard to read ? There are passages in there that read like a man that has given up on Lillian's love and pathetically clings to his unreciprocated passions...

We are both so fortunate to have read him in our youth, and experienced his passions and unbounded love....I have often wondered why he stopped writing after " No Greater Need "...perhaps his inspiration ( and passion ) left him when he was betrayed by Lillian...Can you imagine what he would have contributed to literature had he remained motivated by a passionate love..?

Thanks for stopping by and leaving your wonderfully informative comments...Larry


donna bamford profile image

donna bamford 7 years ago from Canada

Dear Maven 101, this truly is a find. Such sensuous and beautiful imagery and as you say so powerful. My next step is to look up your sight and discover what other wonderful hubs you have. So glad to have discovered both you and Walter Benton


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Donna...You will be rewarded in your discovery of Walter Benton in many ways...He pulls you into his world, a world of deep, passionate love, and unimagined pain ... I think of the moth to the flame analogy and can't help but relate Benton's self-torture in continuing the relationship, even when faced with her perfidy and aloofness...

Welcome to HubPages...another poet is always most welcome here...Larry


hotspur profile image

hotspur 7 years ago from England

The bloke that introduces unknown poems to a mate is a geezer! That's English English for thanks for sharing this I'll go and find some more Walter Benton. Many thanks!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

hotspur...Thanks for the comment...You have much enjoyment and wonderment awaiting your discovery of Walter Benton...Cheers, Mate...Larry


seasoning 7 years ago

lovely sentiments, and a great book there, must read.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

seasoning...Benton will definitely " season " your life with his incredible insights and expressions of love and sorrow...Thanks for the comment...Larry


Jeanne 7 years ago

Larry: The question of the "marketing her love" line has always haunted me, no more so than once I knew Walter and Lillian were married. A woman who is doing extensive research on the life of Walter Benton says both volumes of Benton's work were written after he and Lillian parted ways and yes, I had a very difficult time reading Never A Greater Need and still do. However, I never got the impression from Mr. Benton's niece that he was a bitter or lonely man, but just that he kept his life very private. I'm hoping the researcher will come up with much more detail so we can all learn about this man whose work has moved us so deeply.


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Jeanne...Thanks again for the updates...please keep me advised when you learn anything new from this researcher you mentioned...a most fascinating man and a rare talent, so stunted, so early in life...Larry


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi Larry,I checked on other works of Benton too and he is indeed great and whoa with big passionate words too, totally full of passion indeed,

I thank you again and I am wishing you and yours the best this decade and 2010, Health too and more blessings, always and best, Maita


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Maita...Thanks for taking the time to return and update me on your continuing discovery of Walter Benton...His prose never fails to evoke feelings of love, pain, loss, and beauty...even the pain he describes is somehow transformed into feelings of wonder, an aliveness that comes through the pages with intense passion...Larry


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Hi I am continually reading Benton, And I appreciate you reading my hub again, it means so much to me, thanks for the link of the BEEGEES song love it -- touching...... (Thanks in Filipino) Maita


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Maita....The more you read Benton the more of his tremendous passion is exposed...I've been reading him for 45 years now and still find new inspiration through his enduring love and pain...Larry


Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

You are a true poet at heart, maven, I got overwhelmed by your beautiful sentiment expressed here, very well done...


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Moulik...Welcome to HubPages, my friend...Thank you so much for the kind comments...I notice you also write prose...I'm looking forward to reading your Hubs...Larry


Pearldiver profile image

Pearldiver 6 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

Hi Larry forever the angler thou art. I'm glad that I have not read this until now; as I had only recently decided to write poetry and as an apprentice, until this time would not have appreciated the depth and accuracy of your cast.

You have honored this poet with the elloquant style that only you have the power of delivering. Thank you for sharing this my friend. Such a cast will always precede a tight line. Take Care and Be Well.


maven101 profile image

maven101 6 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Rob...Thank you my friend, for the thoughtful remarks writ with a style uniquely yours...Your poetry is full of wisdom and heart...Please continue with the haiku of the Pearldiver, I really enjoyed your last...Keep your cast long, true, and deep...Larry


Ghost32 5 years ago

Larry, I'm glad to have read this hub--had not known of Benton prior to this--but unlike everyone else commenting on this page, I can't handle his stuff. Too "lost" in Lillian, he is (for me, understand, not for any of the rest of y'all), too destined for tragedy. Even in these passages you've quoted, I can feel the pain a-comin'....

Even so, voted Up, Awesome, and Beautiful.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Morning Ghost...Thanks for stopping by...Benton is all about Passion, passion in pain and passion in love...You have to read the one to appreciate the depth of the other...sometimes that can be difficult and wrenching...I actually wept when I read his August 9 entry ( I'll be forgetting you in each season...), yet I was thrilled reading his May 4 entry ( We need so little room, we two...thus on a single pillow...as we move nearer, nearer heaven...until I burst inside you like a screaming rocket...)...And that was one of his milder entries describing his love...

Sure, the pain comes, and he is totally overwhelmed by her perfidy ( your mind has moved back into your face )...But the raw anger he feels in her " legislated love " becomes a winsome and pitiable expression of disconsolate love which he carried with him to his grave...

I think it is that contrast between pain and exhilaration that holds my attention and keeps pulling me back to his genius...

Take care, my friend...Larry


Sir Gaheris 5 years ago

It's so tragic that the gentle heart should suffer and suffer on through the ages. I am honored to share the pain with students of virtue as those I have found here. Chivalry weeps at our loss of Benton, and I hope Lillian knew the depth of love she held. I have been unable to find more about Benton's Lillian, but Amor can rest for My appreciation of my own love has grown because of this mans passion.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Sir Gaheris...Your use of " chivalry " is interesting in its context to Benton's loss of artistic expression...A word I had not considered to associate with his life ...

Looking back now, with that perspective in mind, I can see where you would reach that view...In " This is my Beloved " the November 12 entry captures his silent suffering and determination to breathe life back into a dying relationship...Pathos and Ethos...Yet in the August 29 entry his personal integrity and trustworthiness is suspended momentarily when we see him making love to a stranger, but being unable to complete the tryst as he is overcome with guilt and a dying love...

Thanks for this astute perspective which gives new meaning to Benton's love and sorrow...

A chivalrous man trapped in an unchivalrous world...Larry


Sir Gaheris 5 years ago

I would love to write something eloquent, but please suspend expectation. I am undone. I acquired, to my excitement a first edition of Benton's "Never a greater need". I am tormented by his words, and have been reading maybe a page a week. This work of his breaks me down on a level I cant express, and I find it hard to continue in his world. I cannot imagine living it, or sharing it with others. Tonight I turn the page again. As i am compelled i will endure. Thanks for the ear Maven.


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

I must say, your comment is indeed eloquent and reflects my first reading of his prose when I wept freely with simpatico and understanding...

His world was a difficult one that had the highest of highs and the lowest of lows...To invest that much love, trust, and commitment, only to have it all torn down, ridiculed, and left adrift, is a world few folks ever experience...

To love that deeply and have it rejected pushed this sensitive man into the throes of eternal hell, never again emerging from that dark cave of remorse and heartbreak...But, God, was he ever alive in those early years with Lillian...


bug918 profile image

bug918 5 years ago from ...

larry, please check out Arthur Prysock's 1968 (i think!) album/cd "this is my beloved" ... he does walter's homage to lillian more than justice. it is fabulous....


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

bug918...Thanks for dropping by and leaving your comment...As I mentioned to liz earlier, I enjoyed the Prysock cd very much...His baritone rendition captures much of Benton's words, however I still feel the Laurence Harvey cd with Herbie Mann is superior due Harvey's trained Shakespearean articulation...He brings forth all the joy and pathos expressed so passionately by Benton...

Both are excellent accompaniment to a reading of Benton, each contributing a unique phrasing and musical score that enhances the Benton " mood "....Larry


bug918 profile image

bug918 5 years ago from ...

maven, i was not aware of laurence harvey's cd. did you like it better because of the articulation? my more important concern is the music. what music, if any, did laurence harvey use? i will search it on amazon and try to get it ... thank you for responding after all this time. this was a really old thread when i found it. i didn't figure anyone was still even monitoring it ... good looking out, my friend ..


maven101 profile image

maven101 5 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

bug918...The music is Jazz with Herbie Mann...The title of the CD is " The Family of Mann "...

Prysock's wonderful baritone probably gives the words a sexier feel than Harvey's articulation...Harvey is more passionate, both in joy and sorrow...depends on your mood, I guess...Prysock for romance, Harvey for drama...heck, get 'em both then you are ready for anything...Thanks for dropping back by, Carpe diem, my friend...Larry


Richard 4 years ago

the first recording of "This is my Beloved" was by Alfred Ryder, the actor, I will never forget it, I give or reada a copy only to special people.....


maven101 profile image

maven101 4 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Richard...Thank you for making m aware of the Alfred Ryder recording...I remember him from " True Grit " and numerous roles guest-starring on many TV shows...I shall go into search mode and seek out this first recording of This is my Beloved...Was there any musical accompaniment..?...Larry


smga22 profile image

smga22 4 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

Excellent Hub.


Sir Gaheris 4 years ago

I stopped over to see what was new, and am quite currious what treasures were unearthed in "This is my Beloved" by Alfred Ryder if any. Maybe Larry is typing an eloquent review of it now or maybe is searching it out in some forgotten tomb with whip in hand. Watch for snakes maven.


Zarathustra Owens 4 years ago

Actually, this is my beloved is a true story. Lillian was a woman he was involved with in NYC. she became an actual prostitute there at the end of their relationship. the poems in the volume are all true stories of their relationship. he was later convinced by the editor to publish the second book, which didn't do as well. you have to wonder what happened to Lillian?? in any case he immortalized her....and thats his greatest credit. her entire existence will only ever be known through him.


illulsebooveM 3 years ago

My spouse and i helpful to get high on lifetime yet these days We have piled up some sort of weight.


Futamarka 3 years ago

Тональный крем придает коже бархатистый, ровный цвет и выполняет еще очень много полезных функций. Но для того чтобы тональный крем служил главным помощником, нужно для начала его правильно выбрать, а потом нанести на кожу.


Mylindaminka 3 years ago

А вот тушь для коричневого макияжа лучше взять коричневую – так будет смотреться наиболее гармонично. Подбирая оттенки, старайтесь, чтобы они выглядели гармонично. Лучше всего взять специальную палетку коричневых теней, где есть светлый, средний и темный оттенки теней.


Marion Heebink 2 years ago

Omg I just found the Laurence Harvey download on Amazon! Boyfriend gave me this album 45 years ago while in college because I liked to "read poetry". Hearing it again after all these years, I still have almost every word memorized, just as Laurence spoke it because I listened to it soooo much! Love it, cried the first time I replayed it after so long. Was just googling the story of Lillian and found you ...


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 2 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hi Larry - enjoyed reading this one. I think maybe there are similarities between WB and Garcia Lorca. Hope you are doing OK?


maven101 profile image

maven101 2 years ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Dave...Great to hear from you, glad you enjoyed my take on Benton...I have read Lorca and find his phrasing exquisite, especially in his Gypsy prose...Benton has a more immediate effect, a more personal passion expressed from experience rather than creative articulation...

I'm doing fine, but due my wife's illness (dementia) I haven't contributed much to HubPages...

I have wanted to thank you for the wonderful advise you suggested in your excellent piece on the Regents Canal Walk...I copied it and took it with me during a business trip to London earlier this year...I was fortunate to take the walk from Kings Cross to Little Venice on a beautiful April day...Regents Park was dripping with cherry blossoms and the sweet vapors of thousands of roses...I climbed Primrose Hill for the fantastic views of The City, had some cold chicken with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and continued to Little Venice and found a delightful little coffee shop named the Waterside Café...For a country renowned for it's tea drinking I was blown away with the coffee served, brewed one cup at a time...Been trying to duplicate that treat ever since with no success...must be the water :)...Had a nice dinner of lambs stew and pint at Wetherspoons Pub...Bit dicey walking around Camden Lock in the early evening...lots of druggies and street drinkers in the area... And you never warned us about the bike riders that tear down these narrow walks 20-30 mph ...I say ban the bikes, walkers only...

Go well and safe, my friend...Larry


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 2 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hi Larry - yes, the bikes can be a menace on the towpath. Starting from King's Cross, you certainly chose the more picturesque direction. Going East, the path goes through a lot of industrial wasteland. Sounds like you had a very good ramble that day, very much my style too!


MamaDragonfly2677 profile image

MamaDragonfly2677 9 months ago from New York

When I think of HubPages...I think of Maven :) still to this day!!


maven101 profile image

maven101 9 months ago from Northern Arizona Author

Hi Mama...It's been a while...Hope all is well with you and yours...I commented on your Hub "At the Moment" which struck a chord with me...I sincerely hope you are in a good emotional place now as you are a dear friend with the fragile heart of a poet...I'm still waiting for that "platonic peck"...


gepeTooRs 7 months ago

You are actually a good webmaster. The web site loading pace is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. In addition, The contents are masterwork. you have done a excellent task in this topic!

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