This narrative poem by Elizabeth Bishop seems so plainly written, yet I think it’s pretty extraordinary.
In the Waiting Room
In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist’s appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist’s waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people, Continue reading “Elizabeth Bishop”
This one is by Octavio Paz, a Mexican poet:
The year’s doors open
like those of language,
toward the unknown.
Last night you told me:
we shall have to think up signs,
sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
the reality of this world.
I opened my eyes late.
For a second of a second
I felt what the Aztec felt,
on the crest of the promontory,
lying in wait
for time’s uncertain return Continue reading “Starting the new year with a poem”
I realized in all the time I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve neglected to include a poem by Elizabeth Bishop. She taught at Harvard just after I left, alas, my tenure there was deadly dull as far as poets went. Probably her most well known poem is a villanelle, called One Art. She and Lowell were great letter writers and a volume of their letters came out recently. She wrote a wonderful memoir of Marianne Moore, her mentor and friend, which is available online in the Collected Prose. Bishop lived with her lover in Brazil for many years. This poem is from that time.