Friday, August 19, 2011

Poetry Friday: Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush, and Whidbey Writers

Captain Whidbey Inn, near Coupeville, Washington

I've been out on Whidbey Island for three days as a guest of the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA program. (Thank you to them for inviting me - I loved being there!) Their MFA program is well designed (daily craft and directed reading classes in addition to workshops and guest presentations) and it has such a fine faculty (friendly, bright, inclusive) and oh, what a heavenly location, around Penn Cove from Coupeville. Everyone has rooms at the historic Captain Whidbey Inn, and all classes are held there.

The back yard is Puget Sound, with a dock for launching boats, or for running and jumping off of -  into the freezing water of the Sound. Rocks, logs, sand, sunshine - there's is nothing in the world lovelier than a rocky beach in the Pacific Northwest. My room in this lovely setting was Room 3, upstairs in the old Inn, and out my window - just across the water - I could see the beach home my parents lived in for many years. My kids and I have many happy memories of that place. A few miles the other direction, at Sunnyside Cemetery (overlooking Ebey's Prairie) my dad is now buried. I had some moments of melancholy mixed in with the happiness these last three days.

Over the three days, I made presentations about The Artful Sentence (with references to Virginia Tufte's wonderful book) and attentive wandering (the art of the flaneur) and enhancing creativity through play (nursery rhymes, jump rope songs, playground games.) I loved talking about those subjects, and I hope the students found what I said useful.

Came home with this thought on my mind: It's summer, the season of full belief, as Northrop Frye describes it in Anatomy of Criticism, so I'm going to fully believe and post this joyful poem titled When on a Summer's Morn by William Henry Davies.
When on a Summer's Morn 
When on a summer's morn I wake,
And open my two eyes,
Out to the clear, born-singing rills
My bird-like spirit flies.

To hear the Blackbird, Cuckoo, Thrush,
Or any bird in song;
And common leaves that hum all day
Without a throat or tongue.

And when Time strikes the hour for sleep,
Back in my room alone,
My heart has many a sweet bird's song --
And one that's all my own. 
                                by William Henry Davies
The Poetry Friday round-up this week is over at Dori Reads. Head over there to see what other people have posted.  


  1. What a special place that must be! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, pictures, and the way place ignites our memories. [And the joyful poem, too!]

  2. I love the commentary that preceded the actual poem. That must have been a beautiful experience gazing at that view.

    Summer's over here in Singapore (although technically it is summer whole year round) - it's the season of alarm clocks once again. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. I've always thought that birds are one of the best features of this world.

    My heart has many a sweet bird's song--

    Great choice of poems, Julie.

  4. What a beautiful setting! And I like that: "the season of full belief."

    "Summer's Morn" is lovely. So nice to read new-to-me poems every week.

  5. This looks like a wonderful MFA program and a lovely place. Thanks for sharing this beautiful poem. It's one I had not read before. I love this sound image of the "clear, born-singing rills."

  6. Me, too, on loving "the season of full belief." Maybe that's what we should name the school year (along with the season of alarm clocks again)!!

  7. What a gorgeous place! I love the poem, too, especially the song "that's all my own."