Friday, January 11, 2008

Poetry Friday : (My daughter) The Writer

Because everyone with a writing daughter should read Richard Wilbur's The Writer.

(And apparently, I think it should be read every four months ... I first posted it about eight months ago, then mentioned it again four months later. And again now. I didn't realize I had this poem on a schedule, but clearly I do.)

Because my daughter wrote our Christmas letter this year.

Because I love to hear her voice on paper.

Because my second daughter, my poet, writes too.

Because Ramona says things like, "Exclaimed the mommy in the blue shirt."

Because each of my daughters will "batter against the brilliance" but finally beat that "smooth course for the right window."

Because when they have flown, I will remember the way they looked, hunched over a keyboard, frowning and driven, tapping out their dreams and searching hard for who they are.

The Writer

by Richard Wilbur

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top


(read the rest of the poem here ... listen to it here.)

The entire Poetry Friday round-up can be found at The Book Mine Set.


laurasalas said...

Karen, I love to see poems repeatedly! Seriously. It gets better each time, so I look forward to seeing it again in four months--thanks!

Christine M said...

What a great poem - and my daughter is a writer too - in fact her descriptive powers floor me. It was great to see this poem.

Tricia said...

I like your intro (it's a great list poem) as much as your entry for the day!

Thanks for sharing.

TadMack said...

Oh, this is a neat one. I hope I can continue to "batter against the brilliance" as well. Lovely.

Kelly Fineman said...

I love reading this every four months. I believe I'll have to print it or make a fair copy and put it in a book.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this poem. It's worth repeating!

I have a future writer myself, I think--a chatterer in there with her stuffed animals till long after she's been tucked into bed. Someday maybe it'll transition into the clatter of a keyboard--and all that means.

Meredith said...

Beautiful, inspiring for the writer in all of us :)

jama said...

I love this poem, and also posted it several months ago. I dedicated it to my father, since I inherited my writing gene from him.

Sara said...

You can post it every day if you ask me. I love, love this, and don't mind being blessed with it again and again.

I hope your daughters dedicate a book to you one day.

Mary Lee said...

"Clearing the sill of the world."

This poem is worth repeating! Thanks!

Momto5Minnies said...

That must make your heart swell with pride ... now special!

Sarah said...

You know, I WANT to like poetry, and I think, Karen, that between you and my Auntie Gardiner, I will discover HOW (sounds silly, I suppose). This poem in particular is fabulous (and I know there are others; I'm just not so motivated to go find them). So thank you for posting poems on Fridays. I enjoy it.

How's that for a two-cents-comment that doesn't really say much? :)

Cloudscome said...

This is a wonderful poem to post again! My favorite phrase (as well as the ones others have mentioned) is "a bunched clamor". Perfect!

Touchstone (^_~) said...

Oh! I've read this poem! Actually, Daddy had us do it in Shakspere.