Jun. 24, 2008
One Hundred White-sided Dolphins on a Summer Day
galloping in the pitch
of the waves, in the pearly
fields of the sea,
they leap toward us,
they rise, sparkling, and vanish, and rise sparkling,
they breathe little clouds of mist, they lift perpetual smiles,
they slap their tails on the waves, grandmothers and grandfathers
enjoying the old jokes,
they circle around us,
they swim with us-
a hundred white-sided dolphins
on a summer day,
each one, as God himself
could not appear more acceptable
a hundred times,
in a body blue and black threading through
the sea foam,
and lifting himself up from the opened
tents of the waves on his fishtail,
with the moon of his eye
into my heart,
and find there
pure, sudden, steep, sharp, painful
I don't know-either
or the pale, bearable hand
on my neck,
from the boat's plain plank seat
into the world's
It is my sixty-third summer on earth
and, for a moment, I have almost vanished
into the body of the dolphin,
into the moon-eye of God,
into the white fan that lies at the bottom of the sea
that ever was, or ever will be,
supple, wild, rising on flank or fishtail-
singing or whistling or breathing damply through blowhole
at top of head. Then, in our little boat, the dolphins suddenly gone,
we sailed on through the brisk, cheerful day.
It's the birthday of Ambrose Bierce, born in 1842 in Meigs County, Ohio. He is best known to us for The Devil's Dictionary, a book of ironic definitions:
"Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited." "Bride: A woman with a fine prospect of happiness behind her."
It's the birthday of the poet Stephen Dunn, (books by this author) born in Forest Hills, New York (1939). He's the author of more than 10 books of poetry, including Different Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. His collection Local Visitations came out in 2003.
His first love was basketball. He was a star on the 1962 Hofstra basketball team that went 25 and 1 that year. Stephen Dunn was nicknamed "Radar" for his accurate jump shot.
He found a job writing brochures for Nabisco and worked for them for seven years. He made a comfortable living. He didn't enjoy his work too much, so he quit and moved to Spain with his wife. They lived for almost a year on $2,200. He wrote a novel and then began writing poetry. He came out with his first collection in 1974, Looking for Holes in the Ceiling.
And it was on this day in 1997, the Pentagon tried to end the speculation that the United States had intercepted a wrecked alien spacecraft along with alien bodies 50 years before in Roswell, New Mexico.
There had been a lot of reports of UFOs during the summer of 1947, and during this flying saucer craze, a man in Roswell found debris on his ranch from something that had crashed — and the Air Force came to clean it up.
Newspapers around the world picked up the story. The government later said the object found had been a weather balloon, but UFO enthusiasts thought it was evidence of an alien invasion, and the government was trying to cover it up. At a press briefing in 1997, the Pentagon said the bodies found in Roswell had been test dummies and not aliens. Many enthusiasts still believe that that press briefing, too, was part of the cover-up.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®