Oct. 20, 2001

Relations: Old Light/New Sun/Postmistress/Earth/04421

by Philip Booth

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Poem: "Relations: Old Light/New Sun/Postmistress/Earth/04421," by Philip Booth from Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999 (Penguin).

Relations: Old Light/New Sun/Postmistress/Earth/04421

From broken dreams,
            we wake to every day's
brave history,

the gravity
        of every moment
we wake

to let our lives
        inhabit: now, here, again,

this very day,

passionate as all
        Yeats woke in old age

to hope for, the sun

turns up, under
        an offshore cloudbank

spun at 700 and

some mph to meet it,
             rosy as the cheeks

of a Chios woman

Homer may have been
            touched by, just

as Janet

is touching, climbing
            familiar steps, granite

locally quarried,

to work at 04421,
          a peninsular village

spun, just as

Janet is spun,
        into light, light appearing

to resurrect

not simply its own
         life but the whole


system, tugging
        the planet around to

look precisely

as Janet looks,
        alight with the gravity

of her office,

before turning
        the key that opens up

its full

      the familiar arrivals,


and even predictable
            orbits in which,

with excited

constancy, by how
          to each other

we're held, we keep

from spinning out
          by how to each other

we hold.

It's the birthday of poet Robert Pinsky, born in Long Branch, New Jersey in 1940, named the nation's Poet Laureate in 1997. He's the author of Jersey Rain, The Figured Wheel, New and Collected Poems 1965-1995, The Want Bone, and other books.

It's the birthday of columnist Art Buchwald, born in Mount Vernon, New York, in 1925, whose popular column of political satire appears in more than 550 newspapers.

It's the birthday of mystery writer Frederic Dannay born Daniel Nathan in Brooklyn in 1905. Along with his cousin, Manford Lepofsky, he wrote the Ellery Queen mystery novels.

It's the birthday of American psychologist and philosopher John Dewey, born in Burlington, Vermont in 1859. Regarded as the father of progressive education, his best-known innovation was what he called "learning by directed living," which combined learning with concrete activity.

It's the birthday of Daniel Owen, born in Flintshire, Wales in 1836, the writer whom the Welsh regard as their national novelist. He wrote Rhys Lewis, Minister of Bethel: An Autobiography, The Trials of Enoc Huws, Dreflan, Its People and Its Affairs, and other books.

It's the birthday of English architect, astronomer and mathematician, Sir Christopher Wren, born at East Knoyle, Wiltshire, England, in 1632. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, he drew designs for rebuilding the whole city, but his scheme was never implemented. In 1669 he designed the new St. Paul's Cathedral, and many other churches and public buildings in London. His epitaph, inscribed over the interior of the north door in St. Paul's Cathedral, reads: "If you would see his monument, look about you."

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




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