Apr. 12, 2009

A Prayer for the Self

by John Berryman

Who am I worthless that You spent such pains
and take may pains again?

I do not understand; but I believe.
Jonquils respond with wit to the teasing breeze.

Induct me down my secrets. Stiffen this heart
to stand their horrifying cries, O cushion
the first the second shocks, will to a halt
in mid-air there demons who would be at me.

May fade before, sweet morning on sweet morning,
I wake my dreams, my fan-mail go astray,
and do me little goods I have not thought of,
ingenious & beneficial Father.

Ease in their passing my beloved friends,
all others too I have cared for in a travelling life,
anyone anywhere indeed. Lift up
sober toward truth a scared self-estimate.

"A Prayer for the Self" by John Berryman, from Collected Poems 1937-1971. © Noonday Press, 1989. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Today is Easter Sunday, the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus three days after his crucifixion. The word Easter comes from "Ēostre," the name of a Pagan goddess of springtime and fertility.

It was on this day in 1861 that shots were fired on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the American Civil War.

It's the birthday of Tom Clancy, (books by this author) born in Baltimore, Maryland (1947). For many years, he worked as a successful insurance salesman. In his free time, he read magazines about military technology. Finally, he got so bored with insurance that he quit and decided to write a novel using some of the military technology he had learned about submarines, and that novel became The Hunt for Red October (1984).

It was on this day in 1945 that Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in office. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Warm Springs, Georgia. That evening, Harry S. Truman took the oath of office. Eleanor Roosevelt called Truman to the White House with the news of her husband's death. He asked her, "Is there anything I can do for you?" And she replied, "Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now."

It's the birthday of poet Gary Soto, (books by this author) born in Fresno, California (1952). He writes for children and adults. His New and Selected Poems (1995) was a finalist for the National Book Award.

It's the birthday of the playwright Alan Ayckbourn, (books by this author) born in London (1939). He has written 72 full-length plays, including The Norman Conquests (1973).

It's the birthday of children's writer Beverly Cleary, (books by this author) born in McMinnville, Oregon (1916). She wrote the Ramona books: Ramona the Brave (1975), Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981), and many more.

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




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