Friday

Oct. 18, 2002

The Garret

by Ezra Pound

The Starts Stand Up in the Air

by Anonymous

FRIDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2002
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Poem: "The Stars Stand Up in the Air," by an unknown Irish poet and "The Garret," by Ezra Pound from Personae (New Directions).

The Stars Stand Up in the Air

The stars stand up in the air
The sun and the moon are gone,
The strange of its waters is bare,
And her sway is swept from the swan.

The cuckoo was calling all day,
Hid in the branches above,
How my storing is fled away,
'Tis my grief that I gave her my love!

Three things through love I see-
Sorrow and sin and death-
And my mind reminding me
That this doom I breathe with my breath.

But sweeter than the violin or lute
Is my love-and she left me behind.
I wish that all music were mute,
And I to my beauty were blind.

She's more shapely than swan by the strand,
She's more radiant than grass after dew,
She's more fair than the stars where they stand-
'Tis my grief that her ever I knew!

The Garret

Come, let us pity those who are better off than we
        are.
Come, my friend, and remember
        that the rich have butlers and no friends,
And we have friends and no butlers.
Come, let us pity the married and the unmarried.

Dawn enters with little feet
        like a gilded Pavlova,
And I am near my desire.
Nor has life in it aught better
Than this hour of clear coolness,
        the hour of waking together.


It's the birthday of Terry McMillan, born in Port Huron, Michigan (1951). She's the author of Waiting to Exhale (1992).

It's the birthday of playwright Wendy Wasserstein, born in Brooklyn (1950). She's written five plays, including The Heidi Chronicles, which won a Pulitzer in 1989.

It's the birthday of A[bbott] J[oseph] Liebling, born in New York City (1904). He used to get up every morning and spend three hours reading the stack of newspapers he had delivered to his doorstep; he said it was a nervous habit, like small talk. He called journalism "a refuge for the vaguely talented." He was fired from his first job on the sports desk of The New York Times when he gave up trying to nail down the names of referees for high school basketball games; he just wrote them all down as "Ignoto," the Italian word for "unknown." He was caught when readers realized that Ignoto was refereeing countless games in schools up and down the East Coast, often on the same night. The Times fired him for "frivolity." He started working at The New Yorker, where he wrote about horse racing, boxing, and the newspaper trade, in a column called "Wayward Press." A rotund man, and a mighty trougher, he wrote some of his best essays about food. He recommended restaurants where he saw priests eating, since priests always had an eye out for good cheap food, and said the right amount of money to have for a meal was enough to be able to cover the check, but "not so much as to produce indifference to the size of the total."

It's the birthday of Lotte Lenya, born Karoline Wilhelmine Blamauer, in Austria (1898). At first she was a ballet dancer, but then she went to Berlin to become an actress, and she met the songwriter Kurt Weill there. He cast her in his shows even though she had never studied singing and couldn't read music. She appeared in Mahogany (1927) and then in The Threepenny Opera (1928) before they fled the Nazis in 1933. Their relationship soured in the days before they left, and they were divorced, but when they arrived in the United States they were reconciled, and they got married again. After Wiell died, Lenya devoted much of his career to preserving his music.


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