Thursday, August 21, 2008

Poetry Friday - John Malcolm Brinnin

In honor of Poetry Friday, I offer this beauty by the under-appreciated poet, John Malcolm Brinnin (1916-1999) who taught at Vassar in the 1940's, championed New York City's fledging 92nd St. Y Poetry Center in the early 1950's, and taught at Boston University from 1961-1978.

La Creazione degli Animali

Here that old humpback Tintoretto tells
Of six day’s labor out of Genesis:
Swift from the bowstring of two little trees
Come swans, astonished basilisks and whales,
Amazed flamingos, moles and dragonflies,
to make their lifelong helpless marriages.
Time is a place at last; dumb wonder wells
From the cracked ribs of heaven’s gate and hell’s.

The patriarch in that vicinity
Of bottle seas and eggshell esplanades
Mutters his thunder like a cloud. And yet,
much smaller issues line the palm of God’s
charged hand: a dog laps water, a rabbit sits
grazing at the footprint of divinity.

John Malcolm Brinnin


Poetry Friday this week is over at Read. Imagine. Talk.


  1. Lovely.

    Thank you for sharing it, and some of the history of the poet.

  2. Wow what an incredible range in this poem! Powerful view of our world.

  3. I love the line, "Time is a place at last."