Wednesday

Dec. 6, 2000

The Orange

by Wendy Cope

Broadcast date: WEDNESDAY, 6 December 2000

Poem: “The Orange,” by Wendy Cope, from Serious Concerns (Faber & Faber).

The Orange
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange—
The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I got a half.

And that orange, it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park.
This is peace and contentment. It's new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all the jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.

It’s the feast day of St. Nicholas. There was a nobleman in St. Nicholas’ city of Myra, in Asia Minor, who grew so poor he considered allowing his three daughters to become prostitutes. Hearing of this, St. Nicholas went to the man’s house three nights in a row, and threw a bag of gold each night into the daughters’ room, which provided dowries for the girls, and saved them from disgrace.

It's the birthday of Khalil Gibran, born in Lebanon (1883). He lived in Boston from age 12 to 15, then returned to Beirut, where he studied Arabic. At 29 he settled in New York City for good, where he wrote in English and Arabic on such topics as love, death, nature, and a longing for homeland. He’s best known for his book The Prophet (1923).

It's the birthday of poet Joyce Kilmer, born in New Brunswick, New Jersey (1886). He was killed in action near Ourcy, France, in 1918. He’s famous for his poem "Trees" (1913), which begins: “I think that I shall never see / A poem lovely as a tree..”

It's the birthday of lyricist Ira Gershwin, born in New York (1896). He collaborated with his brother, George Gershwin, and other composers on such shows as: Lady Be Good (1924), and Lady in the Dark (1940, with Kurt Weill), and Cover Girl (1944, with Jerome Kern). His songs include "The Man I Love," "I Got Rhythm," and "Someone To Watch Over Me."

It's the birthday of photographer Eliot Porter, born in Winnetka, Illinois (1901). After medical training at Harvard, and then 10 years spent teaching biochemistry there, he took up photography full-time. He’s noted for his color landscapes in books including In Wilderness Is the Preservation of the World (1962), The Place No One Knew (1963), Baja California (1967), and The Tree Where Man Was Born (1972).

On this day in 1921, the Irish Free State was born. Ireland's 26 southern counties were granted independence from Britain, while 6 of the 8 Protestant-majority counties of Ulster, in the northeast, remained part of the United Kingdom.

It's the birthday of novelist and playwright Peter Handke, born in Griffen, Austria (1942). He first drew attention with his play Offending the Audience (1966), in which 4 actors analyze the nature of theater for an hour, then insult the audience--then praise the act of performance. His other plays include Kaspar (1968) about the foundling Kaspar Hausar, and The Ride Across Lake Constance (1971). His novels include The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick (1970), and The Left-Handed Woman (1976).

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®

 









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