Jan. 27, 2002

342 It will be Summer -- eventually.

by Emily Dickinson


Poem: "It will be Summer-eventually," by Emily Dickinson from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson (Little Brown and Company).

It will be Summer-eventually

It will be Summer-eventually.
Ladies-with parasols-
Sauntering Gentlemen-with Canes-
And little Girls-with Dolls-

Will tint the pallid landscape-
As 'twere a bright Bouquet-
Tho' drifted deep, in Parian-
The Village lies-today-

The Lilacs-bending many a year-
Will sway with purple load-
The Bees-will not despise the tune-
Their Forefathers-have hummed-

The Wild Rose-redden in the Bog-
The Aster-on the Hill
Her everlasting fashion-set-
And Covenant Gentians-frill-

Till Summer folds her miracle-
As Women-do-their Gown-
Or Priests-adjust the Symbols-
When Sacrament-is done-

It's the birthday of writer Julius (Bernard) Lester, born in St. Louis, Missouri (1939). He's best known for his children's books based on African-American history and folklore. So, using material he'd gathered from reading slave narratives in the Library of Congress, he sat down to write To Be a Slave (1968), which was named a Newbery Honor Book. Another children's book, Long Journey Home: Stories from Black Histories, was a National Book Award Finalist in 1972. He's the author of nearly three dozen books in all.

It's the birthday of English poet and novelist D. M. (Donald Michael) Thomas, born in Redruth, Cornwall (1935). He had already earned acclaim as a poet and translator of Russian poetry before the publication of his third novel, The White Hotel (1981), made him a best-selling author in the United States.

It's the birthday of American archeologist Carl (William) Blegen, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1887). In the 1930's, he excavated at the site of Troy, in northern Turkey, where he was able to identify different stages in the development of the city as it was destroyed and rebuilt over several centuries. He eventually identified one stage, which he designated period VIIa (seven-A), as the remains of King Priam's Troy, whose fate was chronicled in Homer's great epic poems, The Iliad and The Odyssey.

It's the birthday of mathematician, photographer and writer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, born in Daresbury, Cheshire, England (1832). He was a shy boy who was often bullied at school, but he was a stellar student, particularly in mathematics and classics. He ended up as a lecturer in mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford. He suffered from a bad stammer, which went away whenever he was among children-and at Christ Church he was often in the company of the dean's children: Lorina, Edith and Alice Liddell. On July 4, 1862, he took the three girls for a rowing excursion on the Thames, during which he told them a fairy tale about Alice's adventures at the bottom of a rabbit hole. Alice was so delighted that at the end of the story she cried, "Oh, Mr. Dodgson, I wish you would write out Alice's adventures for me!" He did, and the resulting book was published in 1865 as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He followed the book with a sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1871). The two volumes became the most popular children's books in England.

It's the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, born in Salzburg, Austria (1756). His father, Leopold Mozart, was a composer and teacher who turned impresario to present his children in concerts throughout Europe. By the age of six, Wolfgang was a skilled keyboard player, playing duets with his sister Nannerl in concerts for royal audiences in London, Paris, and Vienna. He also began to compose at a very early age-he wrote three operas when he was twelve, and had written sixteen symphonies by the time he turned fifteen. Before his early death at the age of thirty-five, he'd written forty-one symphonies and a string of great operas, including The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), Cosi fan tutte (1790), and The Magic Flute (1791).

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