Idioms Gallery
Blog archive at the bottom of the page.

now
Language Gallery by Sharon Hahn Darlin


Feb 4, 2009

陰德陽報 let not thy left hand know; blessings to follow

陰 (shade) 德 (virtue) 陽 (sunlight) 報 (repay)

Hannah Arendt dreamed of it (see the letter transcribed below) and so did Truman Capote, Robert Lowell, Saul Bellow. Mario Puzo accepted an offer he couldn't refuse, and began writing the Godfather saga here.

This estate ended up saving many poor creative talents with little resources. Even many with resources.

It was Yaddo, in Saratoga Springs, New York. I was happy to visit this lovely city while I was a Teaching Associate at Cornell University, on assignment at Skidmore College. Now it is a serene treat to visit the collection at the New York Public Library. ("Yaddo" is named by little Christina Trask, a daughter of the philanthropist couple, who imagined the word to be the opposite of "shadow". "Call it Yaddo, Mama, for it makes poetry!")

Artists' colonies, including Yaddo, no longer sound as charming as they once did. And I
have no idea what the future paperless generations will make of typed correspondence of yore;

"Dear Mrs. (Elizabeth) Ames, I have been thinking, or rather dreaming, of Yaddo ever since I came back to New York. I told you how happy I was there and I want you to know how deeply grateful I am for these wonderful days. Nothing could have helped me more and even the daily struggle in New York against disturbances, noise and all kinds of distractions is now easier to bear. I hope all is well with you and Polly Hanson whom, please, give my most cordial regards. I am sure that I can come back for a little longer after my trip to Europe and I thank you very much that I may. I shall feel honored to join the Yaddo Library and am sending you my book under separate cover. With warmest greetings, yours, Hannah Arendt"

***
There are anonymous philanthropists currently at work. They must be aware of the gift of happiness their "good karma" might bring them. 陰德陽報 .