19 June 2014

Poetry Thursday - Mornings Like This by Annie Dillard

Sunday. What still sunny days

We have now. And I alone in them.
So brief—our best!
So much is wrong, but not my hills.
I have been thinking of writing
A letter to the President of China.
Do it, do it, do it, do it.
I beseech you, I beseech you,
I beseech you, I beseech you.
Mornings like this: I look
About the earth and the heavens:
There is not enough to believe—
Mornings like this. How heady
The morning air! How sharp
And sweet and clear the morning air!
Authentic winter! The odor of campfires!
Beans eighteen inches long!
A billion chances—and I am here!
And here I lie in the quiet room
And read and read and read.
So easy—so easy—so easy.
Pools in old woods, full of leaves.
Give me time enough in this place
And I will surely make a beautiful thing.

Annie Dillard, “Mornings Like This” (a found poem created from David Grayson’s The Countryman’s Year) (via)

Coming across an excerpt from the poem in an old sketchbook, I was ready to hunt through the bookshelves for the slim volume that contained the whole poem, but reason prevailed and it was easily found on the internet - and thereby also the grammatolatry blog, full of interesting poems ... is there no end to this world of wonders?  Fond thanks to and memories of Rita, who sent me the book in the first place, more than ten years ago.

"In Mornings Like This, Annie Dillard extracts and rearranges sentences from old--and often odd--books, and composes ironic poems--some serious, some light--on the heartfelt themes of love, nature, nostalgia, and death. Clever, original, sometimes humorous, and often profound, this collection is sure to charm her fans, both old and new" say the publishers.

Annie Dillard (b.1945) has published poetry, essays, prose, memoirs, and literary criticism. She is known for "her intensely poetic and precise prose and her exploration of the natural environment". Her first poetry collection, Tickets for a Prayer Wheel, was released in 1974 while she lived alone in the woods on Tinker Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The same year she wrote Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, a collection of narrative essays that won a Pulitzer Prize and was modeled to some extent on Walden—meditations on solitude, religion, writing, and her natural environment (her masters thesis (1968) was on Thoreau). 
Another collection of essays, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters, was published in 1982, followed by Encounters with Chinese Writers (1984), inspired by to China with the U.S. Cultural Delegation, and among other writing, two novels, The Living (1992) and The Maytrees (2007). She has been a scholar-in-residence and university professor since 1975. Thrice married, she has a daughter (born in 1984) and has received many awards.

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