Jun. 22, 2013

Welcome Morning

by Anne Sexton

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

"Welcome Morning" by Anne Sexton, from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton. © Mariner Books, 1999. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

It's the birthday of poet and essayist Anne (Morrow) Lindbergh (books by this author), born in Englewood, New Jersey (1906). In 1927, she met Charles Lindbergh, and they liked each other so much that he took her flying with him. She wrote in her diary: "Clouds and stars and birds — I must have been walking with my head down looking at puddles for twenty years."

They got married in 1929 and Charles taught Anne how to fly, and in 1931 she got her private pilot's license. That same year, the couple went on a survey flight to Asia, flying over Canada, Alaska, and Siberia, and the trip became the subject of Anne Lindbergh's first book, North to the Orient (1935). Both that book and her next book about flying, Listen! the Wind (1938), became best-sellers. She went on to write two novels, a book of poems, and a book of essays, Gift from the Sea (1955).

It's the birthday of producer and director Joseph Papp, born in Brooklyn, New York (1921). He became interested in drama when he started going to a movie house where, before the movie started, there was always a stage show with singers, jugglers, and magicians.

In 1954, he founded the New York Shakespeare Festival in a church on the Lower East Side. The early productions were staged on almost no budget, and in many cases the actors worked without pay. Because Papp believed that art should be available to everyone, the admission was free. Eventually, he was granted use of the open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and the festival became known as Shakespeare in the Park. He also founded the Public Theater in the old Astor Library to use as a year-round venue that fostered up-and-coming playwrights and actors.

At the Public, Papp produced musicals that went on to become hits on Broadway, including The Pirates of Penzance, A Chorus Line, and Hair.

It's the birthday of screenwriter, director, and producer Billy Wilder, born in Sucha, Poland (1906), then part of Austria. He fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s and moved to the U.S., and after losing his first job and work visa, he went to a Mexican border town and talked his way to the front of the line at the visa office.

Wilder liked to work with a partner writing screenplays. He said that writing alone was "suicidally boring." He would walk around the room shouting and gesturing and his partner was supposed to take notes. After working on a script with Wilder, Raymond Chandler said, "[It was] an agonizing experience and has probably shortened my life."

He eventually produced and directed dozens of films, many with big stars like Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, Kirk Douglas, Marilyn Monroe, and Marlene Dietrich. Some of his hits were The Apartment (1960), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Some Like It Hot (1959), and Double Indemnity (1944).

He said, "The only pictures worth making are the ones that are playing with fire."

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




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