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From the Writer’s Almanac

09 May

On one of my favorite poets:

It’s the birthday of poet and essayist Charles Simic (books by this author), born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (1938). His family survived the bombing of Belgrade during World War II and fled Eastern Europe after the war was over, moving first to New York, which Simic said “looked like painted sets at a sideshow in a carnival,” and then to Chicago, which he described as “a coffee-table edition of the Communist Manifesto, with glossy pictures of lakefront mansions and inner-city slums.” Eventually, the family wound up in Oak Park, Illinois, and Simic went to the same high school Ernest Hemingway had gone to. His first ambition was to be a painter; he didn’t start writing poetry until his last year of high school, publishing his first poems in 1959, when he was 21. Since that time he has published nearly three dozen books of poetry, many translations and works of prose, and served as the poet laureate of the United States.

Secret History

Of the light in my room:
Its mood swings,
Dark-morning glooms,
Summer ecstasies.

Spider on the wall,
Lamp burning late,
Shoes left by the bed,
I’m your humble scribe.

Dust balls, simple souls
Conferring in the corner.
The pearl earring she lost,
Still to be found.

Silence of falling snow,
Night vanishing without trace,
Only to return.
I’m your humble scribe.

In the Library

There’s a book called
“A Dictionary of Angels.”
No one has opened it in fifty years,
I know, because when I did,
The covers creaked, the pages
Crumbled. There I discovered

The angels were once as plentiful
As species of flies.
The sky at dusk
Used to be thick with them.
You had to wave both arms
Just to keep them away.

Now the sun is shining
Through the tall windows.
The library is a quiet place.
Angels and gods huddled
In dark unopened books.
The great secret lies
On some shelf Miss Jones
Passes every day on her rounds.

She’s very tall, so she keeps
Her head tipped as if listening.
The books are whispering.
I hear nothing, but she does.

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3 Comments

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in American Lit, poetry, Writers' Almanac

 

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3 responses to “From the Writer’s Almanac

  1. sonofwalt

    May 9, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I love Charles Simic. Thank you for the ping back and the poems.

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  2. smkelly8

    May 9, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Simic is wonderful. I got to hear him read his work on National Poetry Day a few years back at the Chicago Public Library.

    Like

     
 
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