Thursday

Jul. 12, 2007

Beans in Blossom

by John Clare

THURSDAY, 12 JULY, 2007
Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

Poem: "Beans in Blossom" by John Clare. (buy now)

Beans in Blossom

The south-west wind! how pleasant in the face
It breathes! while, sauntering in a musing pace,
I roam these new ploughed fields; or by the side
Of this old wood, where happy birds abide,
And the rich blackbird, through his golden bill,
Utters wild music when the rest are still.
Luscious the scent comes of the blossomed bean,
As o'er the path in rich disorder lean
Its stalks; when bees, in busy rows and toils,
Load home luxuriantly their yellow spoils.
The herd-cows toss the molehills in their play;
And often stand the stranger's steps at bay,
Mid clover blossoms red and tawny white,
Strong scented with the summer's warm delight.

Literary and Historical Notes:

It's the birthday of Henry David Thoreau (books by this author), who was born David Henry Thoreau in Concord, Massachusetts (1817). We know him as the author of Walden, and the essay "Civil Disobedience." He became the first member of his family to go to college. He went to Harvard, but didn't much care for the place. He didn't much care for school teaching either. He went to live with Ralph Waldo Emerson in Concord and did odd jobs around the house and took care of the children. It was Emerson who encouraged Thoreau to write poetry and suggested that Thoreau keep a journal, both of which Thoreau continued to do for the rest of his life.

He was 27 years old when he built that little cabin on the edge of Walden Pond and moved in, in an attempt, he said, to "Simplify, simplify, simplify ... to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach."


It's the birthday of the man who gave us the Kodak camera, George Eastman, born in Waterville, New York. He was working at a bank when he got interested in photography around 1877. He took his first dry plate photograph the next year with the camera that he invented—a view of the building across the street from his window. He developed this little handheld camera, and he called it the Kodak because it was easy to remember, difficult to misspell, and it meant nothing, so it could only be associated with his product.


It's the birthday of a very prolific and productive lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II (books and music by this author), born in New York City (1895). He wrote lyrics for Sigmund Romberg. He wrote "Old Man River" and "Can't Help Loving That Man" for Jerome Kern's Showboat in 1927, and then all of the hits that he wrote with Richard Rogers, Oklahoma, South Pacific, The King and I, and The Sound of Music.


It's the birthday of the poet Pablo Neruda (books by this author), born in Parral, Chile (1904). He was born Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, but since his father didn't approve of him writing poetry, so he took the pen name Pablo Neruda.


It's the birthday of Julius Caesar, born in Rome around 100 B.C.


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

 









«

»

  • “Writers end up writing stories—or rather, stories' shadows—and they're grateful if they can, but it is not enough. Nothing the writer can do is ever enough” —Joy Williams
  • “I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get. Writing is my way of making other chances.” —Anne Tyler
  • “Writing is a performance, like singing an aria or dancing a jig” —Stephen Greenblatt
  • “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • “Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.” —John Edgar Wideman
  • “In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” —Denise Levertov
  • “Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” —E.L. Doctorow
  • “Let's face it, writing is hell.” —William Styron
  • “A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.” —Thomas Mann
  • “Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials.” —Paul Rudnick
  • “Writing is a failure. Writing is not only useless, it's spoiled paper.” —Padget Powell
  • “Writing is very hard work and knowing what you're doing the whole time.” —Shelby Foote
  • “I think all writing is a disease. You can't stop it.” —William Carlos Williams
  • “Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.” —Iris Murdoch
  • “The less conscious one is of being ‘a writer,’ the better the writing.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is…that oddest of anomalies: an intimate letter to a stranger.” —Pico Iyer
  • “Writing is my dharma.” —Raja Rao
  • “Writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appallingly hard work.” —Anthony Powell
  • “I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act.” —Michael Cunningham
The Writer's Almanac on Facebook


The Writer's Almanac on Twitter

Subscribe to our daily newsletter for poems, prose and literary history every morning
An interview with Jeffrey Harrison at The Writer's Almanac Bookshelf
Current Faves - Learn more about poets featured frequently on the show
O, What a Luxury

Although he has edited several anthologies of his favorite poems, O, What a Luxury: Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound forges a new path for Garrison Keillor, as a poet of light verse. Purchase O, What a Luxury »