Friday, May 8, 2009

Hey, I just wrote 11 lines!

And now I have to go to school and do my Friday-afternoon revision workshop with the fourth and fifth graders. I haven't seen them for 3 weeks, and I wonder what they'll be up to today. I know we've all missed each other, which is in itself a charming sensation.

The sun is shining, and the wet trees are glowing; and during chores I found the first little broken eggshell of the season. Somebody was born this morning, and a fine day it is to be alive.

Here's a Jonathan Swift poem that I brought to the Frost Place teaching conference last summer. People had a hard time with it: couplets seem to drive many contemporary readers crazy. But I've always been fond of it.

A Description of the Morning

            Jonathan Swift

Now hardly here and there an hackney-coach,

Appearing, showed the ruddy morn’s approach.

Now Betty from her master’s bed had flown,

And softly stole to discompose her own.

The slipshod prentice from his master’s door

Had pared the dirt, and sprinkled round the floor.

Now Moll had whirled her mop with dextrous airs,

Prepared to scrub the entry and the stairs.

The youth with broomy stumps began to trace

The kennel-edge, where wheels had worn the place.

The small-coal man was heard with cadence deep,

Till drowned in shriller notes of chimney-sweep,

Duns at his lordship’s gate began to meet,

And Brickdust Moll had screamed through half the street.

The turnkey now his flock returning sees,

Duly let out a-nights to steal for fees;

The watchful bailiffs take their silent stands;

And schoolboys lag with satchels in their hands.


Sheila Byrne said...

I just found my notes on this last week- count how many people are in this poem.

We have lilacs, this weekend is the Lilac Festival, and as John Proctor might have said: "(Western NY) is a beauty in the spring."

Dawn Potter said...

Yes, that poem is packed with characters, boxed up in their couplets and ready to explode.

No lilacs here, not yet. We're still on forsythia, just starting the azaleas, with dandelions and violets in full swing.