April 11th poem

Thursday, April 11, 2013

While the Baby Sleeps

I read an Anne Carson poem about walking before dawn in Iceland.  I'm envious of Anne Carson then.  I want to be in Iceland doing things like that, seeing crows as big as chairs.  Ravens.  Or in another place, Nova Scotia, maybe, where I went once to stay at Elizabeth Bishop's childhood home and write because one of the house's owners told me I should.  Or could.  I did more revision than writing there.  I read a book of prose poems by Anne Carson there that I liked.  I also read the beginning of Anne of Green Gables, a couple of books by Canadian authors I hadn't heard of, some old National Geographics in the sitting room that was lonely to go into, some files of photocopied archival materials about Bishop.  I got my feet stuck in the red-purplish mud of the Bay of Fundy.  I walked down the middle of the road with my friend Douglas at around midnight.  There were so many stars I didn't know what to do.  I thought of Bishop's poem about Robinson Crusoe, and I kept telling Douglas that we should move over to the side of the road in case a Canadian redneck came peeling through the village in a pickup truck in the dark.  Every night we would meet in the kitchen and ask each other if we thought the house was haunted.  Neither of us would stay in the largest bedroom.  I think that's where Bishop's mother screamed that time before she went back to the sanatorium for good.  The house got very sad around dusk and stayed that way for a while, but I loved it. 

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