Thirteen Ways Of
Listening To The Songbirds
Dickinson Leaving Her Poetry Workshop
Her hand on the chill ivory
The sunlight like a summons on the table
Hungers clamoring from the rooms
She would climb back up to it when she was able.
Watches Oliver St. John Gogarty
Donate a Pair
of Swans to the Liffey
A pair of swans! Extravagance
On the slow morning waters of the Liffey.
Gogarty's old enough by now to know
One emblem will suffice for anybody.
The Constant Symbol: Interior
Decoration at Thoor Ballylee
The erudite want to wax symbolic
On the color of the walls, and it could be true.
The trouble is, when George went in to buy the
In Gort, the only color on the shelves was blue.
The Range of Frost's Affections
"Robert Frost didn't love
Says the critic from his Sunday morning corner.
Tell that to Marjorie, whose hand he drew from
To his and back when Death forgot to warn her.
In Praise of
Richard Eberhart told me Robert
Would walk out in the woods, compose a verse,
And be so happy he'd forget about it.
Would that he'd misplaced a comma! Things could
Wallace Stevens Welcomes John
Crowe Ransom to Hartford
Wallace Stevens ushered John
And his dog back on the New Haven Line.
It was time for tea, and he feared the dog
Might pee on the palm at the end of his mind.
James Merrill Remembers
Elizabeth Bishop's Tact
"Her house guest was brought
up short in the doorway.
She'd come to quick tears over a glass of Irish.
'Don't worry, Josť, (she switched to Portugese)
It's all right, I'm only crying in English.'
The End of Genius
Randall Jarrell laid The Kiss of
On his fellows, leaving every one a handle.
"I felt I'd been run over but not
Said one. If only that were true of Randall.
On a Sentence in an Irish Republican Paper
"The trouble is not the
But the Benedict Kielys of the world."
Said your friend Sean White, "To think there
Than one of you is what makes my short
Side by Side
Richard Wilbur lived next door in
To his excellent friend John Ciardi.
They traded palindromes and love. Please God
The both of them may sup with Thomas Hardy.
Journey to the Interior
James Wright sent his free verse
clear to Minnesota,
Then took its advice, as was his habit.
But as for his late late exquisite sonnets,
He croaked through his throat-hole, "Don't
Winter's Lease: The English and Irish Laureates
Ted Hughes was a sidelong,
grateful, hulking guest
That winter in the Heaneys' Cambridge lease.
When offered a Guinness or some "rough"
He said, "I'll take the rough red, Seamus.
Responds to the Charge that He Switches
from Powers to Bushmills on Crossing the Border
"This train is rumbling
north and north of the Boyne.
Friends and enemies, I need a word at the ready.
But what they say about me is a lie.
The line that I'm on serves nothing but