Tag Archives: Elizabeth Bishop

Well! And here we all are!

I’ve struggled a bit, trying and a-trying to decide just how I’m supposed to handle this inaugural entry. All of these WordPress bells and whistles—and they are lovely bells and whistles, with lots of dash and go!—obscure the fact that this is just a continuation of what I’ve been doing elsewhere for the past year-and-a-half. Do I proceed with business as usual? Or should I “make a splash”, as they say in the movies [do they say that in the movies, even?] and write a real barnburner, something that would march over the earth like a pillar of fire and leave the hearts of my readers toasted to a crisp in its wake? My God, that sounds TERRIBLE. I meant that IN THE GOOD WAY.

ME: Um…well, business as usual, I guess! Ha ha!
READING PUBLIC: Gah.

For the record, this new format is terrifyingly official. I had to pick a name for the blog, for the love of Mary, and if you know me even slightly, you know how laborious and painful I made that process for myself. “Leave no stone unturned!” thundered My Brain and Heart. “No, not that name. Are you a half-wit? I’m out of here.” Eventually, however, the proper title presented itself; it’s from Elizabeth Bishop’s “Letter to N.Y.” [see below]. If you don’t care for poetry? Listen well to me when I tell you that, if that’s the case, you should light a great big torch and cut a wide swath around this blog with a bolo knife, or whatever’s to hand. You’ll be wading in poetry up to the clavicle, some days. Other things you will be wading in:

–my nephews

–pictures and stuff

–things that have happened to me that I want to talk about

–sometimes I become upset about dictatorships

***

Walking back from Union Station in the middle of the afternoon this past Monday, I heard a man say somberly to his companion:

“I saw one, once. I saw a bullfight where the bull won.”

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiiikes!

 

Letter to N.Y.

In your next letter I wish you’d say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays and after the plays
what other pleasures you’re pursuing:

taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,

and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you’re in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,

and most of the jokes you just can’t catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so terribly late,

and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.

–Wheat, not oats, dear. I’m afraid
if it’s wheat it’s none of your sowing,
nevertheless I’d like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.

Elizabeth Bishop

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Filed under Beginning Brand New Things, Poetry