Wednesday, February 8, 2012

For Elizabeth

Elizabeth Bishop with her cat, Tobias, in 1954

Chemin de Fer
(By Elizabeth Bishop)

Alone on the railroad track
   I walked with pounding heart.
The ties were too close together
   or maybe too far apart.

The scenery was impoverished:
   scrub-pine and oak; beyond
its mingled gray-green foliage
   I saw the little pond

Where the dirty hermit lives,
   lie like an old tear
holding onto its injuries
   lucidly year after year.

The hermit shot off his shot-gun
   and the tree by his cabin shook.
Over the pond went a ripple.
   The pet hen went chook-chook.

"Love should be put into action!"
   screamed the old hermit.
Across the pond an echo
   tried and tried to confirm it.

Here, I'll demonstrate my equivocation on the matter of determining a favorite poet. ;-)

On the typical day of the year, if asked, I'd say that my most beloved of poets is Emily Dickinson, but today, on her birth date, born in 1911, my dearest admiration goes out to Elizabeth Bishop, who's verse can gently pull my heart through scenes of humor, horror, or heroism.

Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8, 1911.

I can write about her poetic genius endlessly. I could start another blog dedicated to studying her words. But, I think the best way to honor Elizabeth Bishop is to let her poems speak for themselves.

"The Fish"

"One Art"

"The Armadillo"




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