Thursday

Aug. 9, 2001

Four Poems in One

by Anne Porter

THURSDAY, 9 AUGUST 2001
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Poem: "Four Poems in One," by Anne Porter from An Altogether Different Language: Poems 1934-1994 (Zalond Books).

Four Poems in One

At six o'clock this morning
I saw the rising sun
Resting on the ground like a boulder
In the thicket back of the school,
A single great ember
About the height of a man.


Night has gone like a sickness,
The sky is pure and whole.
Our Lady of Poland spire
Is rosy with first light,
Starlings above it shatter their dark flock.
Notes of the Angelus
Leave their great iron cup
And slowly, three by three
Visit the Polish gardens round about,
Dahlias shaggy with frost
Sheds with their leaning tools
Rosebushes wrapped in burlap
Skiffs upside down on trestles
Like dishes after supper.


These are the poems I'd show you
But you're no longer alive.
The cables creaked and shook
Lowering the heavy box.
The rented artificial grass
Still left exposed
That gritty gash of earth
Yellow and mixed with stones
Taking your body
That never in this world
Will we see again, or touch.


We know little
We can tell less
But one thing I know
One thing I can tell
I will see you again in Jerusalem
Which is of such beauty
No matter what country you come from
You will be more at home there
Than ever with father or mother
Than even with lover or friend
And once we're within her borders
Death will hunt us in vain.

It's the birthday, in Washington, D.C., 1950, of Jeanne Larsen, author of the novels Silk Road (1989) set in 8th-century China, and Bronze Mirror (1991), in 12th-century China.

It's the birthday of the creator of the Dr. Alex Delaware mysteries, Jonathan Kellerman, born in New York City, 1949. He, like his main character, is a child psychologist.

The second atomic bomb was dropped by the United States on this day in 1945 on the Japanese city of Nagasaki. The intended target was the city of Kokura, but poor visibility there forced the B-29 bomber on to Nagasaki. The bomb detonated at 11:02 a.m., local time, and destroyed about half the city, killing 70,000 people.

It's the birthday of Philip Larkin, the poet and novelist, born 1922 in Coventry. He worked as a librarian for most of his life, and mostly in the town of Hull. Two of his novels came out after World War II, Jill and A Girl in Winter, but he is best known for his stoic and melancholy poetry.

It is the birthday of Leonide Massine, born in Moscow, 1896. He was the principal dancer who replaced Nijinsky in Diaghilevs's Ballets Russes. A choreographer, he created the dances for such important works as La Boutique Fantastique and Parade. At age fifty-two he danced in the film The Red Shoes.

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

 









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