Jun. 15, 2001

Summer Morning

by Charles Simic

FRIDAY, 15 JUNE 2001
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Poem: "Summer Morning," by Charles Simic from Selected Poems 1963-83 (George Braziller).

Summer Morning

I love to stay in bed
All morning,
Covers thrown off, naked,
Eyes closed, listening.

Outside they are opening
Their primers
In the little school
Of the corn field.

There's a smell of damp hay,
Of horses, laziness,
Summer sky and eternal life.

I know all the dark places
Where the sun hasn't reached yet,
Where the last cricket
Has just hushed; anthills
Where it sounds like it's raining;
Slumbering spiders spinning wedding dresses.

I pass over the farmhouses
Where the little mouths open to suck,
Barnyards where a man, naked to the waist,
Washes his face and shoulders with a hose,
Where the dishes begin to rattle in the kitchen.

The good tree with its voice
Of a mountain stream
Knows my steps.
It, too, hushes.

I stop and listen:
Somewhere close by
A stone cracks a knuckle,
Another rolls over in its sleep.

I hear a butterfly stirring
Inside a caterpillar,
I hear the dust talking
Of last night's storm.

Further ahead, someone
Even more silent
Passes over the grass
Without bending it.

And all of a sudden!
In the midst of that quiet,
It seems possible
To live simply on this earth.

It's the birthday of novelist Jill Eisenstadt, born in New York City in 1963. She is the author of coming-of-age stories set in Queens, New York, including From Rockaway and Kiss Out.

It's the birthday of Linda Lea Crockett, born in 1952, in Belen, New Mexico, and author of historical novels set in the Old West including The Return of Chase Cordell, Territorial Bride, and others.

It's the birthday of novelist Ursula Perrin, born in 1935 in Berlin. She moved to this country when she was a child and began writing books about friendship between women, and of young women coming of age, including Ghosts, Heart Failures, The Looking-Glass Lover, and her most recent, Cool's Ridge.

It's the birthday of poet Jack Anderson, born in Milwaukee in 1935. He was the author of many collections of poetry and was also the dance critic for the New York Times for many years beginning in the late 1970s. He also authored a number of books on dance history.

It's the birthday of children's author and mystery writer Betty Ren Wright, born in Wakefield, Michigan, in 1927. Her books included A Ghost in the House, The Scariest Night, Holiday House, and Out of the Dark.

It's the birthday, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1915, of physician Thomas H. Weller, who won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for cultivating the polio virus in tissue cultures, which made it possible to study the virus in the test tube and develop a vaccine for it.

It's the birthday of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, born in the coastal town of Bergen, in 1843.

The Magna Carta was signed on this day in 1215 by King John of England. It was an agreement between John and several dozen English Barons that took away the King's total authority, and granted basic rights and liberties such as freedom of the church, no imprisonment without a jury trial, and the fair and proper execution of the laws of the land.

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