Léna's Lit.Life

Léna (me): Lit, as in literature, Lit, as in light, Lit, as in a little kooky: Life.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Writer

My daughter's kindergarten teacher gave me this poem today, because it made her think of my boisterous and determined angel. I was thrown back to 25 years ago, when I first read Richard Wilbur, and the self I was back then. Her teacher watched me read with love and intensity, and I surprised myself by needing to fight back tears. Did she know what a gift she was giving me?  My daughter wants to be a writer, like me. Maybe that will change, and maybe it won't, but I left the room, pondering my roles as a parent, daughter, writer, person . . . and I wanted to share with you.

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,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten.  I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.

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  1. i love this poem. tears in my eyes. my daughter has asked for a typewriter, yes, a typewriter, for xmas.

  2. Thank you for posting. I've never read this before and loved it and the moment you shared.

  3. Oh Hope - goosebumps!

    Robyn - thank you for saying hi! I'm so glad you loved the poem!

  4. Beautiful poem. Just. Beautiful.

  5. Dearest Lena,
    You made my day with this poem as I am beginning the first art page of my book about the rabbit who has been coming to my door.

    I feel like the child pausing, then taking off.

    perhaps on the edge of edges.........xoxomjc

  6. I can see you are one of the famous and professional writers like professional essay on time because of nice writing style. Your poem is really interesting for the people who know little bit about poetry writing.

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  8. Thank you for sharing this poem. I am thinking to sing this poem with my guitar. rush essay gave me some poem before. I will share those in a short time.