On Reading / On Writing / Poetry / The English Teacher / The Social Network


A little while ago, the sun was on the rise. A pale yellow was seeping through the grayish eastern sky while in the west, dark clouds of an April thunderstorm threatened. The classic battle: light vs dark. Shows up all the time in the literary world (and even the real one). Weather being what it is (cold fronts, warm fronts, high and low pressure systems, swirling disturbances in the upper atmosphere, cold air colliding with warm humid air), the signs were clear: rain, coming my way.

I watch and listen for awhile. Coffee at my fingertips, pup at my feet. Flashes of light. Rolling thunder coming after. One. Two. Three. Rumble rumble rumble, Crack. But soft, this time. The real thunder clatter still at a distance. The steady rain sends robins and squirrels to the trees. Jack, trapped by glass doors and my unwillingness to smell wet dog, watches, whines — soft, like the thunder. Rain splatters the windowpanes and rolls off the rooftop, the excess rushing along the downspout.  A settled gray presses in. Thunder and lightning interrupt the silence in my kitchen. In the rain I hear a thousand reasons to be thankful. In every sip of creamed coffee, comfort. In every newly greening blade of grass, hope. In this rain-washed morning, poetry.

Of course.


                                             Billy Collins

Why do we bother with the rest of the day,
the swale of the afternoon,
the sudden dip into evening,
then night with his notorious perfumes,
his many-pointed stars?
This is the best—
throwing off the light covers,
feet on the cold floor,
and buzzing around the house on espresso—
maybe a splash of water on the face,
a palmful of vitamins—
but mostly buzzing around the house on espresso,
dictionary and atlas open on the rug,
the typewriter waiting for the key of the head,
a cello on the radio,
and, if necessary, the windows—
trees fifty, a hundred years old
out there,
heavy clouds on the way
and the lawn steaming like a horse
in the early morning.
Mornings. The best part of waking up. Sunlight. Coffee. Rain. A rumble of thunder.
All of it. Pure poetry.

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