Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Letter to New York by Elizabeth Bishop

Letter to N.Y.
For Louise Crane

In your next letter I wish you'd say
where you are going and what you are doing;
how are the plays, and after the plays
what other pleasures you're pursuing:

taking cabs in the middle of the night,
driving as if to save your soul
where the road goes round and round the park
and the meter glares like a moral owl,

and the trees look so queer and green
standing alone in big black caves
and suddenly you're in a different place
where everything seems to happen in waves,

and most of the jokes you just can't catch,
like dirty words rubbed off a slate,
and the songs are loud but somehow dim
and it gets so terribly late,

and coming out of the brownstone house
to the gray sidewalk, the watered street,
one side of the buildings rises with the sun
like a glistening field of wheat.

—Wheat, not oats, dear. I'm afraid
if it's wheat it's none of your sowing,
nevertheless I'd like to know
what you are doing and where you are going.


Unknown said...

what a lovely poem by ms. bishop

browse said...

I found this poem via David Rakoff reading it in a recent Fresh Air interview. I was quite taken by the poem. It's one of those pieces that reads so smoothly and effortlessly, it perfectly disguises how much work it must have been to craft it.

Lynne said...

I also was given this gift by David Rakoff. He keeps on giving and giving and giving.

Lynne said...

I also received this poem as a gift from David Rakoff. He does keep giving ... doesn't he?

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