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From a letter by Samuel Beckett, dated February 14, 1957, responding with what he called “heart-felt sympathy” to queries from a German translator of his 1935 poetry collection Echo’s Bones and Other Precipitates. The Letters of Samuel Beckett, Volume 3, 1957–1965, edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn, and Lois More Overbeck, will be published by Cambridge University Press in October.

What is a signaculum?
Hymen in anatomical sense.

“in me, Habbakkuk, mard of all sinners”
What is mard? — mardochai? nard composite?
Filth, merde.

“potwalloping now through the promenaders”
The conventional meaning of potwalloping doesn’t fit in here; what is the intended meaning?
Blundering heavily along.

What are skinnymalinks?
Skinny emaciated person.

What are thongbells? thong = sound or voice? or thongbells a dialect word for some kind of flower?
Invented word: thong of whip — bells of tulips.

“in a hag she drops her young”
Hag has so many meanings: a bog, a soft place in a bog, a ravine? I suppose you mean a bog as a composite of moor + toilet??
Soft place in bog. No toilet harmonics.

“scored with a thrillion sigmas”
thrillion = trillion thrills?
sigmas = small spikes of sponge? or milliseconds?
scored with a thr. sigmas: scarred?
Sigma: ~Hogarth’s “line of beauty” and symbol of Christ.
Scored: marked, furrowed.
Thrillion: million, billion, thrillion.

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October 2016

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