Summer 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1963 |

Ride the High Country

David R. Slavitt RIDE THE HIGH COUNTRY I. The long red underwear of Randolph Scott, the gold-rimmed spectacles of Joel McCrea, underscore age and through the reverend plot the old gunfighters ride for one more day. And Ladd was old in Shane, and in High Noon old Coop had all his wrinkles emphasized (with visible distaste he drew his gun). The ritual of honor is disguised and is an act of memory and will. The pistol-packing, popcorn-eating child feels the pretended stubble on his chin and imagines his bones weary after the kill. Even the movies' West is no longer wild, its virtu now a trail bum, a has-been. II. Odysseus, safe at homne, can be our friend. Orestes and the furies come to terms -our terms: we, craven, crave the tamest end, the fireside remembrances of storms, the hero's diminution. The old hand is slower on the draw, the eyes are gone. We may admire, but we understand that nerve is all McCrea is working on,534 that aged manliness becomes absurd. He makes mistakes out on

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