Friday, July 10, 2015

Poetry Friday: James Tate 1943-2015

James Tate in 1968

The wonderful poet James Tate, who taught for so many years at U Mass/Amherst, died on July 8th - this is my favorite of his poems. I feel just as he felt about clotheslines. And about love. 

At the Clothesline

Millie was in the backyard hanging the
laundry. I was watching her from the kitchen
window. Why does this give me so much pleasure?
Because I love her in a million ways, and because
I love the idea of clean laundry flapping in
the wind. It’s timeless, a new beginning, a
promise of tomorrow. Clothespins! God, I love
clothespins. We should stock up on them. Some
day they may stop making them, and then what?
If I were a painter, I would paint Millie hanging
the laundry. That would be a painting that
would make you happy, and break your heart.
You would never know what was in her mind, big
thoughts, little thoughts, no thoughts. Did she
see the hawk circling overhead? Did she
hate hanging laundry? Was she going to run away
with a sailor? The sheets billowing like sails
on an ancient skiff, the socks waving goodbye.
Millie, O Millie, do you remember me? The man
who travelled with cloth napkins and loved you
in the great storm.

Poetry Friday is being hosted by Katie over at The Logonauts this week - head over there to see what other people have posted.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Poetry Friday - Sara Teasdale

Sara Teasdale 1884-1933

This post goes out to my sweet friend of many years, Laura Kvasnosky, who recently gave me a slim volume of poetry by Sara Teasdale, published in 1926, and titled Dark of the Moon. Here is my favorite poem from it: 

On the Sussex Downs

Over the downs there were birds flying,
Far off glittered the sea,
And toward the north the weald of Sussex
Lay like a kingdom under me.

I was happier than the larks
That nest on the downs and sing to the sky,
Over the downs the birds flying
Were not so happy as I.

It was not you, though you were near,
Though you were good to hear and see,
It was not the earth, it was not heaven,
It was myself that sang in me.
                                   --Sara Teasdale

I've always thought memorizing poems was a fine thing to do, and I recommend this one for memorization. It seems to me as golden as any prayer to say each night as you fall asleep or each morning as you get up. 
The Poetry Friday Round-up is being hosted this week by Donna over at Mainely Write. Head over there to see what other people have posted.