Apr. 10, 2001
The First Spring Day
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Poem: "The First Day of Spring," by Christina Rossetti.
The First Spring Day
I wonder if the sap is stirring yet,
If wintry birds are dreaming of a mate,
If frozen snowdrops feel as yet the sun
And crocus fires are kindling one by one:
Sing, robin, sing;
I still am sore in doubt concerning Spring.
I wonder if the springtide of this year
Will bring another Spring both lost and dear;
If heart and spirit will find out their Spring,
Or if the world alone will bud and sing:
Sing, hope, to me;
Sweet notes, my hope, soft notes for memory.
The sap will surely quicken soon or late,
The tardiest bird will twitter to a mate;
So Spring must dawn again with warmth and
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.
On this day in 1974, Israeli prime minister Golda Meir resigned after five years in office, saying "I have had enough."
"I became prime minister because that was how it was, in the same way that my milkman became an officer in command of a machine-gun squad in the '73 war. He didn't want the job but somebody had to do it."
It's the birthday of David Halberstam, born in the Bronx, New York (1934), author of many best-selling non-fiction books.
"I like living in New York City. It's my city, and it's home to other writers. Writing is extremely lonely work, and the opportunity to go for a walk with a friend or have dinner with a colleague once a week is one of the city's special pleasures. My friends and I do not have to see each other every day, but the knowledge that we are there for one another, that an unofficial support system is close at hand, that we can get together whenever we want, is a comforting one, something not to be underestimated."
It's the birthday of novelist Paul Theroux, born in Medford, Massachusetts (1941). He went off to the Peace Corps, and taught English in Uganda. He wrote novels about Africa, and also about Singapore. Then, in 1974, he took a trip through Asia, the Far East, and the Soviet Union, taking notes along the way. Through his notebooks he wrote The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia (1975). It was a bestseller, as were his other travel memoirs: The Old Patagonian Express: By Train through the Americas (1979), The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey around Great Britain (1985), and other books.
"A person becomes a writer because they're deficient. They have problems. They're crazy. They have unhappy families. They're eccentric. And not because they've read a lot of books necessarily, but on the contrary maybe they haven't read enough books. There's a strong irrationality about the writing life. Often a writer writes just to maintain their sanity."
It's the birthday of labor leader Dolores Huerta, born in the small New Mexico mining town of Dawson (1930). In the early 1960s, Huertaalong with Cesar Chavezfounded the United Farm Workers union.
It's the birthday of journalist and newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, born in Budapest, Hungary (1847). He came to this country at the age of seventeen, and joined the army. After he was discharged, he went to St. Louis, became a reporter, and was elected to the State legislature. Then he began to buy newspapersincluding the New York World. Later, he endowed the Columbia University School of Journalism, and established annual Pulitzer prizes for literature, drama, music and journalism.
It's the birthday of Lewis Wallace, born in Brookville, Indiana (1827). A General in the U.S. Civil War, he's best known to us as the author of the novel Ben Hur (1880).
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