Thursday, November 16, 2006

Elizabeth Bishop: Please come flying...

Well, I suppose the best place to start is with my blog title. "Please Come Flying" comes from a poem that Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) wrote for her friend Marianne Moore (another of my favorites you'll probably hear about later). It is a gorgeous poem, full of whimsical, magical details like
In a cloud of fiery pale chemicals,
please come flying,
to the rapid rolling of thousands of small blue drums
descending out of the mackerel sky
over the glittering grandstand of harbor-water,
please come flying.

You can read the entire poem at PoemHunter, and I highly recommend that you do. It's sure to be a bright spot in your day.

Elizabeth Bishop would spend years fine-tuning a single poem. Her poems seem simple and direct, but she paid excruciating attention to every minute detail. And it is those precise details that make her poems so breathtaking. I think that's true of most things. It's not the sweeping gestures that mean the most, it's the details...small kindnesses and tiny moments of beauty.

You can read more Elizabeth Bishop poems and even listen to a recording of her reading her own poem "The Armadillo" at the Academy of American Poets website.



Anonymous said...

with a slight censorious frown. i love liz bish.

Josephine Cameron said...

I know. A brilliant turn of phrase...what a master.