Friday, February 11, 2011

Poetry Friday - Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

It was Elizabeth Bishop's birthday on Tuesday (and also the grandfather of science fiction, Jules Verne's), so, to help celebrate both it and Poetry Friday,  here is another work by the Massachusetts-born poet:

Five Flights Up
Still dark.
The unknown bird sits on his usual branch.
The little dog next door barks in his sleep
inquiringly, just once.
Perhaps in his sleep, too, the bird inquires
once or twice, quavering.
Questions--if that is what they are--
answered directly, simply,
by day itself.
Enormous morning, ponderous, meticulous;
gray light streaking each bare branch,
each single twig, along one side,
making another tree, of glassy veins...
The bird still sits there. Now he seems to yawn.
The little black dog runs in his yard.
His owner's voice arises, stern,
"You ought to be ashamed!"
What has he done?
He bounces cheerfully up and down;
he rushes in circles in the fallen leaves.
Obviously, he has no sense of shame.
He and the bird know everything is answered,
all taken care of,
no need to ask again.
--Yesterday brought to today so lightly!
(A yesterday I find almost impossible to lift.)

I posted a poem of Bishop's about music two years ago around this same time of year.  Read that one here.

Poetry Friday is being hosted today by Carol at Reading Is Fundamental.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Ah, one of my daughters is partly named for Elizabeth Bishop (as well as Elizabeth Smart).

She's a poet we haven't read much together though. Thanks for posting this one.