Monday, June 29, 2009

Sitting in Franconia's public library, en route to buying potato chips for Baron.

Frost Place update:

Bad side but not very bad:

1. Coffee pot that doesn't brew coffee

2. Rain

3. Toilet trouble

4. Rain

5. Very wet stray dog

Good side and all good:

1. Met a man who lives next door to Paul Westerberg, ex-frontman of the Replacements.

2. Listened to Baron read "Mulroney."

3. Drank beer on Robert Frost's porch.

4. Slept in Robert Frost's kid's bedroom.

5. Watched English teachers become rapturous about being English teachers.

5. Ate strawberries.

6. Looked at mountains.

7. Thought.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

No surprise: Robert Frost's farmhouse does not have a wireless connection, so I may or may not find a time and place to post anything this week.

Moments ago the boys headed off to camp with their rubber boots and fishing poles, and since they are the sweetest boys in the world, and I miss them already, I will post a small paean to them because, when it comes to children, love and exasperation are timeless.

Wish for sunshine. . . .

An Excuse for Not Returning the Visit of a Friend

Mei Yao Ch'en [1002-1060]

Do not be offended because
I am slow to go out. You know
Me too well for that. On my lap
I hold my little girl. At my
Knees stands my handsome little son.
One has just begun to talk.
The other chatters without
Stopping. They hang on my clothes
And follow my every step.
I can't get any farther
Than the door. I am afraid
I will never make it to your house.

[trans. Kenneth Rexroth, from One Hundred Poems from the Chinese (New Directions, 1971).]

Friday, June 26, 2009

A small R.I.P. for the era of Farrah and Michael Jackson.

No, I didn't have the haircut. Yes, I wanted it.

Yes, I bought Thriller when it came out. No, I haven't listened to it for 20 years. But the Jackson 5's "ABC" and "I Want You Back" are two of the greatest pop songs ever.

Liner Notes

           from the digital re-release of The Reckless Pedestrians Walk the Dog

 Dawn Potter


   1. Empty Bed Blues


We debuted in a dorm basement

painted dirt green,

with low ceilings and dollar beers.

All our songs were covers of Carpenters tunes


that the lead singer had learned in high school chorus.

We were trapped by the past—

the effervescent desires

of Casey Kasem,


the static buzz of AM radio.

What options did we have?

You hear folks bad-mouth the Carpenters,

but try to sing like Karen


if you’re a fat nineteen-year-old boy

with glasses and a narrow range.

Nothing works out the way you hope,

as we discovered that night,


the room emptying out fast, folding chairs

parked against the walls, blank as a bus station.

It was depressing,

but we’d read enough Kafka


to accept misfortune.

Confusion is chronic;

and anyway, only the Japanese

are doing Carpenters covers these days.



    2. Seven Day Fool


In the eighties the natural place for a girl

in a band was on bass,

except if you were the Go-Gos.

We were past that Linda McCartney-and-Wings shit.


In our yellow-curtained apartment

we embraced our instruments like babies,

trying to force three chords

into the lush harmonies

of Burt Bacharach.

The cat yowled; neighbors quarrelled

far into the night.  Only

when the drummer began fiddling


morosely with the zipper on Sticky Fingers

did the answer come to us,

the last notes of “Close to You” fading

swiftly into the forgotten past,


Mick Jagger’s threat to remove his trousers on stage

rising like a phoenix—oh, we were young,

and in love, and happy to take ours off too;

and we could play all the notes!


It was like seeing Rothko for the first time,

then turning to the nearest stranger

and shouting,

What the fuck have I been doing with my life?


    3. Look What Thoughts Will Do


The guitarist stored a tattered copy

of On the Road in his case

and randomly read aloud from it

between sets.  The bass player


toiled through every break;

her fingers toughened like a farmer’s,

while the guitarist, pacing,

intoned Kerouac at the ceiling:


“ . . . arc, pop out, brake in, run. . . .

Somewhere along the line the pearl. . . .

‘Terry,’ I pleaded with all my soul. . . . ”

The roadies kept quitting,


the bathrooms smelled like puke,

and even “Freebird” can get you down

on a rainy night in March,

far out in the Amish wasteland.


It was the gulag, but we were alive:

catching the last train to the city,

dropping our cases on the stairs,

rolling into bed at dawn

with the crows outside just starting

to quarrel and the garbage men

slamming their loads

in the tender morning light.


    4. Love Is the Drug


And here we all send our thanks

to Jon Bon Jovi for his good advice

about shopping-mall acoustics,

which served us so well in the years


spent traveling from one Ground Round

to the next, bodies fueled by Coors

and dry yellow popcorn, fan club asleep

on the jukebox, the rest of us pounding out


ballads at two a.m. like this was the last

honkytonk on earth, fluorescent lights

faltering off one by one: bulldozers

could be moving in from the west


to destroy the place by morning,

and only electricity would save us—

AC bleeding through the wires,

guitar solos fervent as Jesus,


drummer hunched over, dripping with sweat,

and the lead singer taking off his glasses

to rub his eyes, calm and exalted,

like Socrates waiting for hemlock.


    5. Baby Let’s Play House


Some say Walk the Dog is the worst album we ever made.

But intonation aside, this was a record about love:

the purest, most pop-driven kind—

four happy people in a band, kissing each others’ hands


on the train, waking up at noon,

eating cornflakes without milk and playing our record collection

in alphabetical order because that kind of asceticism

would make us great.

Listen to every Boston album, and you’ll soon learn

how much eleven-year-old boys crave beauty,

in whatever surreal form.

We had the big picture in our heads—


rock-and-roll as undergraduate abstraction:

life spent cheek to jowl,

the guitarist’s head in the drummer’s lap,

King Lear parked upside-down on a speaker,


unread, hissing and muttering under his breath,

all of us singing “Sweet Jane”

as if Lou Reed had written it with us in mind—

screeching so loud that the little girl next door


banged on the wall in ecstasy

while her parents, on their knees,

begged her to think hard, honey, and please,

please, remember where she’d hidden the Moped keys.

[from Boy Land & Other Poems (Deerbrook Editions, 2004)].

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I've got Frost Place on the brain, of course: this week, it's all teaching-conference prep all of the time . . . except when I've got frantic wet gardening on the brain. Maine is a horrible swamp; my herb garden is starting to rot, and the peonies look like they've been in a fight. The grass is a lost cause. So I might as well stop thinking about the erstwhile beauty of the natural world and go back to thinking about teaching poetry.

from On Poetry & Craft

Theodore Roethke

"There is a kind of teaching shorthand: a possibility of suggestion which can be far more powerful than the ablest analysis: for analysis is, after all, a negative function. . . . To make them feel and think simultaneously. To make the thought as real as the sight and smell of a rose: the growth of the student who can be reached in this way is much more rapid."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On Saturday we will be scattered to the four winds: the boys are going to canoe camp, I'm going to the Frost Place, and Tom gets to be a private person at home for a week, which I'm sure will be a treat for him, despite the fact he'll have to do chicken chores. Last year I lost a considerable amount of weight at the Frost Place, mostly from being too worked up to eat. I have a hard time eating when I'm putting on a show, as I'll be doing all week long. Fortunately, there is Polly's Pancake Parlor up the hill and around the corner, where I will spend $11 every morning on buckwheat pancakes and fresh strawberries and good coffee. I could thriftily do my own cooking in Robert Frost's kitchen, but I cook all the time at home, and I'd rather sacrifice the $11 in hopes of a daily scrap of digestive cheerfulness. Plus, those buckwheat pancakes are really good.

Here is this week's Milly Jourdain poem:


The winter sunlight when it gleams
          So cold and fair;
Makes silver rivers of the roads
          All straight and bare,
And singing birds in misty trees
         Are no more dumb,
They sing of warmer days; I wish
          That they would come.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

from The Notebooks of Robert Frost

"A poem would be no good that hadn't doors I wouldn't leave them open though."

"Our ruling passion is to mind each others business"

"Everything that is a thing is out there and there it stands waiting under your eyes until some day you notice it."

"Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt says every girl should learn to carry her liquor."

"From politeness to trees I always rounded a circle to the right instead of to the left when I got lost in the woods."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not only do I read with Baron Wormser at the Frost Place on Sunday evening, but I also get to introduce him. So I've been going through his poems and being happy about them all over again. You should get hold of his most recent book, Scattered Chapters: New & Selected Poems, which will give you a good idea of what he's been doing over the course of his career.

This is more or less what I'm going to say about Baron and his work:

For most people, let alone for most writers, it’s enough to deal with our own pain in this world. Even as we grieve for others, we remain central to ourselves, the first-person character of our own stories.

Baron Wormser is not this kind of writer. Beginning with the publication of his first book, in 1983, he has undertaken that most difficult of tasks: he has struggled to inhabit other people’s suffering and disbelief and confusion and panic. In his poem “The Suicide’s Father,” the grief-frozen father tells himself, “I have/Committed a crime but I am not sure/What it was./It is a crime of meals, presents,/Postcards, worries, lullabies.”

Let me tell you: such lines, in their simplicity, in their familiar, gut-wrenching details, are not easy to write. But this kind of clarity appears everywhere in Baron’s writing: in his poems, in his stories, in his essays. This is not to overlook his wit, nor his irony, nor his scathing intelligence. But even at his most ironic, as in his Carthage poems, which deal with a fictional, incompetent, and strangely familiar U.S. president, he finds ample room for sympathy and affection. When President Carthage notices that his women advisors “tend to be a little flat chested,/Probably from being so brainy,” we comprehend not only his foolishness but also his innocence. I go back to Baron’s poems again and again precisely for this reason . . . because they are incisive and exact and because they are deeply, viscerally humane.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Rain rain rain rain rain is what's going on in Maine these days. Yesterday I spent all afternoon weeding the garden and received more blackfly bites than I've ever had before. They're all in one small circular patch on my lower back, where my shirt rode up while I was bending over, and they are not a pretty sight. But at least the garden looks better.

My reading relationship with The Charterhouse of Parma is improving. Stendhal's sexy duchess is not Becky Sharp-like after all; she's much sweeter, though she is agonizing over whether or not to have a love affair with her nephew. If my sons hadn't broken my reading glasses, I might have gotten a lot further into it today. There's something very comically and stereotypically French about this book. In tone it rather reminds me of movies like Belle du Jour. It's the kind of book that stuffy British critics probably condemned as amoral, yet it's so zestfully amoral that it assumes a kind of inverse charm. I like it.

Today strikes me as a day that might be best spent making a large and elaborate meal. I think I will examine the freezer and see what cuts of meat remain there. I seem to remember a tenderloin floating around in the back somewhere. And now I'm also having visions of panna cotta with wild strawberries. . . . 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

For some reason I am tearing out my hair about what to read at the Frost Place. Do I read new stuff I've never read before? Do I read old stuff that I've read often before? Do I read a bunch of short poems? Or one long poem? I'm toying with reading "The Story of Phaeton," but is it boring? I seem to have walked into a shadowy patch of indecision, when I can't see anything about my work clearly. For all I know, I might be a terrible poet. Argh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Yesterday, as I was making potato salad, my 11-year-old son started talking to me about why he likes to write fantasy stories. "You don't have to know all the details, like you do when you're describing a real place," he said, at which point I mentioned Kafka's novel Amerika, set in a fictional America. "Read me some of it," said my son, and my 14-year-old, flopped on the couch, concurred. So I paused in my potato-slicing operation, dug Amerika off the shelf, and started reading aloud.

It turns out that Kafka is excellent read-aloud material. Who would have thought? The boys find it extremely funny. They especially like the description of the Statue of Liberty's sword and all those surrealistic details that make adult readers feel like they're caught in a bad dream, like losing one's luggage and getting lost in the endless winding corridors of an ocean liner and opening a closet and finding a strange man living there.

Reading Kafka to my children was not exactly what I expected to be doing yesterday, but family life is always a surprise.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I can't seem to get excited about Stendhal's The Charterhouse of Parma, though I don't see why I'm having such trouble with it. The novel bears a certain tonal resemblance to Thackeray's Vanity Fair, sly yet affectionate yet Machiavellian. Thackeray's Becky Sharp is a wonderful creation, and  I suspect Fabrizio's sexy aunt in Charterhouse is another such charming amoral anti-heroine. But even though I'm a hundred pages into the book, I haven't cemented my relationship with the novel . . . by which I mean that it hasn't yet become a page-turner. I keep putting it down and forgetting it.

I'll be spending this morning on Frost Place business: working out afternoon writing prompts for the conference and reading Frost's poetry. It's our director Baron Wormser's plan to have Frost himself be central to the conference week. Thus, Frost must become central to me for three weeks. I'll keep you posted on what transpires.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

from Letters on Cezanne

Rainer Maria Rilke (trans. Joel Agee)

It's strange to walk through the Louvre after two days in the Salon d'Automne: you notice two things right away: that every insight has its parvenus, upstarts who make a hue and cry as soon as they catch on,--and then, that perhaps these aren't particularly illuminating insights at all. As if these masters in the Louvre didn't know that painting is made of color.

The copyist's disclosure: I've never been to France, let alone to either of these museums. I don't know very much about Cezanne. And I can't help recasting the final sentence as "As if these prizewinners didn't know that poems are made of words." 

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight's All-Harmony reading at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft promises to circumnavigate these and other questions:

1. How does stockpiling ammo relate to copying out all of  Paradise Lost?

2. Why do women throw frying pans in public places?

3. What are the root reasons behind the Harmony boys' inability to win basketball games?

4. How do elementary-school students manage to perpetually confound their teachers?

5. Is it true that an old AC/DC album can equal love?

6. Why does growing older make everyone cry?

Hope to see you there.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I learned this morning that the Liverpool-based magazine The Reader has accepted my essay "On Junk and the Common Reader." I'm so pleased: considering how much British literature I read, it feels especially gratifying to receive an acceptance from a U.K. journal.

I heard on the radio this morning that today is the anniversary of the 1803 incorporation of Harmony, Maine. For more than 200 years, our town has remained small and insignificant. Seeing as I am the closest thing this town has to a poet laureate, I feel like I should pen an ode to obscurity . . . though maybe, come to think of it, I already have.

Eclogue III

All the long day, rain

pours quicksilver

down the blurred glass,

gardens succumb to forest,


half-ripe tomatoes cling

hopelessly to yellow vines,

cabbages crumple and split,

but who cares?


Let summer vanish,

let the tired year

shrink to the width

of a cow path,


soppy hens straggle

in their narrow yard,

and every last leaf

on the maples redden,


shrivel, and die.

Nothing needs me,

today, but you,

sweet hand,


cupping the bones

of my skull.  Alas,

poor Yorick, picked clean

as an egg.


How rich we grow,

bright sinew and blood,

my eyes open, yours


[forthcoming in How the Crimes Happened (CavanKerry Press, 2010)]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The current Threepenny Review has a short piece by Thomas Rayfiel on the novels of Ivy Compton-Burnett. I'd like to have a conversation with him on the subject. I haven't yet been able to figure out precisely what I think of her books, but I can't stop reading them either.
Got our hay in yesterday; got some of the lawn mowed and did a bit of weeding. Keeping up feels almost impossible, but I suppose it doesn't really matter. Summer vacation has started for the boys: sleeping till 10 in the morning; aimlessly riding their bikes around the yard; abandoning Monopoly games in the middle of the living room floor. . . . It's the time of year when the meaning of accomplishment becomes skewed.

This week I'll start compiling my writing exercises for the Frost Place conference. And Tuesday I'll read in Dover-Foxcroft, a mere 35 minutes from my house. My last reading was in Manhattan, when life in Harmony seemed very far away, possibly even an invention of my imagination. I felt (metaphorically) like Thoreau or maybe, more accurately, like a Sasquatch, stuck all over with twigs and leaves and bird droppings. That won't be the case in D-F. After all, I read books, goddamn it. Worse, I write poems. Oh, the embarrassments of culture.

In short, no matter where I am, life is nerve-wracking. Nonetheless, when it comes to readings, I seemed to have conquered my performance anxieties. I may feel like a freak, but I can still do the show. I think that's because it feels so good to say the words.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Milly Jourdain redux

A few days ago, I received, with great pleasure, an email from biographer Hilary Spurling about my review of Milly Jourdain's forgotten 1924 poetry collection Unfulfilment. I hope she will not mind my sharing a few of her thoughts:

"You & I are almost certainly her only living readers, and we think alike.  Re-reading her poems--the ones I quoted, & the ones you did--makes  me sure we're right.  A faint kinship in her neatness & low tone, & her sentiment or lack of it, with Emily Dickinson, don't you think? 'tiny sounds like dry and restless sobs' or the drifting rain & trailing smoke of dreams in 'Watching the Meet'.  Of course she was always a guttering flame & soon snuffed out--you are the only reader who ever mentioned her to me--and I can't tell you how glad I am you did--and to know that pale flame burns again in Maine." 

But today Hilary and I are not Milly's only living readers because you've read a few of her poems too. And Hilary wonders if I should, once a week or so, post one or another of her poems here. Maybe I'll do that, and maybe I'll also post them in their published order. It seems like a small gift to Milly and also, I hope, a small gift to Hilary, who first recognized their worth.


Milly Jourdain

I know too late how fluently my bow
Should skim the strings, my fingers giving birth
To living notes which sound about my ears
And make a heavenly music, though on earth.

And still I see how clearly shines the light
On winter branches, how the dripping rain
Deepens the colours on the hills, and how
To draw those horses plodding up the lane.

I know too late; my hands can do no more;
All powerless upon my lap they lie.
Only my sense of colour and of sound,
And biting pain, increases till I die.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

CavanKerry Press is beginning to enter the production phase of my next poetry collection, How the Crimes Happened, due out next April; and I'm really happy that we're going to use one of my husband's photographs on the cover. At the moment, this blue station wagon (scroll through till you get to it) is the one that seems most likely. Initially I didn't consider it as a possibility, but I've always liked it a lot, partly because it reminds me of Lucky Strikes, which my grandmother used to smoke. The designer argued that even though my poems aren't about demolition derby cars, the image nonetheless matches my poems "which are very American." That remark gave me pause, considering how much British literature I read. But I suppose he might be right.

It's strangely alluring to puzzle over the question of what constitutes the national flavor of an art form. In poetry, the sound of the language must certainly be an element, but I think poets may also reveal an eye for the image that is peculiarly American. And of course, for some reason, American artists seem especially focused on the minutiae of popular culture. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The older I get, the more John Donne's poems seem to matter to me. They distill so many disparate desires and regrets. They are rueful, yes, but also forgiving, also hopeful, also honestly cruel. And then the accuracy of his diction, the intensity of his language, his energy: I open his collected poems at random and am overwhelmed.

The Triple Foole

John Donne

          I am two fooles, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
          In whining Poetry;
But where's that wiseman, that would not be I,
          If she would not deny?
Then as th' earth's inward narrow crooked lanes
Do purge sea waters fretfull salt away,
          I thought, if I could draw my paines,
Through Rimes vexation, I should them allay.
Griefe brought to numbers cannot be so fierce,
For, he tames it, that fetters it in verse.
          But when I have done so,
Some man, his art and voice to show,
          Doth Set and sing my paine,
And, by delighting many, frees again
          Griefe, which verse did restraine.
To Love, and Griefe tribute of Verse belongs,
But not of such as pleases when 'tis read,
          Both are increased by such songs:
For both their triumphs so are published,
And I, which was two fooles, do so grow three;
Who are a little wise, the best fooles bee.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Frost Place season is nearly upon us; and even if you're not attending a conference or a seminar, you are very welcome to attend any of the evening readings.


All readings are free and open to the public

Annual Conference on Poetry and Teaching

June 28-July 2 – Readings at 7:30 PM

Sunday, June 28Dawn Potter and Baron Wormser
Monday, June 29Elizabeth Powell
Tuesday, June 30Geof Hewitt
Wednesday, July 1Charlotte Gordon

Frost Day

Sunday, July 5 – 2:00 PM

Storyteller extraordinaire Willem Lange 
and Poet in Residence Rigoberto González
with refreshments


Frost Place Advanced Seminar

August 3-7 – Readings at 8:00 PM    

Monday, Aug 3Favorite Poems Reading: 
Seminar Participants read poems 
written by other poets
Tuesday, August 4 Jeffrey Harrison
Wednesday, August 5
Jeanne Marie Beaumont
and Rigoberto González
Thursday, August 6Martha Collins
Friday, Aug 7
Group Reading by Participants
in the Advanced Seminar

Home again, and slowly recovering from sleep and laundry disruption.

Best street performances in NYC: As I was riding the F train into Manhattan, four guys who looked like they might be retired Navy seamen stepped into the car and started singing loud, tight, crisp doo-wop, and they were great. The next afternoon, in Columbus Circle, three twenty-year-old boys were breakdancing, and they were also great. My friend Steve put money into their hat; and when one of my sons asked him how much money he'd given them, Steve said, "I gave them a lot. Those guys shouldn't have to work at other jobs." (Nonetheless, I don't think Steve gave them a salary; maybe more like dinner money.)

from Song

John Donne

Teach me to heare Mermaides singing,
          Or to keep off envies stinging,
                    And finde
                    What winde
Serves to advance an honest minde.

Dinner tonight: Belgian beef stew, baby lettuce salad, new bread.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 5:

Bought Macaulay's history of England and Ellman's biography of James Joyce out of a cardboard box on a Brooklyn street corner. Walked and walked and walked and walked and never got tired. Jean-Georges was glorious: a baby pea soup that tasted like petit pois picked warm off the vine. Not to mention the tiny rare tenderloin. Not to mention the walk through Central Park afterwards, and its crowds of people, and time spent observing peculiar hobbies such as disco roller skating. But today we leave all this and wend our way back north, and by tomorrow, life will have returned to Little League baseball and the wind in the trees.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 4:

My clock has officially switched to Brooklyn time: I stayed up till 3, woke up at 9. Yesterday's conference presentation went well, I think. Thrilling in its own way to run into other Common Readers, especially young ones. Afterwards I went to a South African wine bar, and later I ate Vietnamese sandwiches and drank bubble tea, which is a very strange beverage, requiring its own special straw, so that everyone's cup looks like a Sippy Cup. The rain poured all day long, and negotiating Manhattan sidewalks when everyone has an open umbrella requires a constant three-dimensional in-out, up-down motion . . . dancelike and more well mannered than you might expect.

Today Jean-Georges for lunch. We are full of anticipation.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 3:

Taco-and-horchata hangover. Falling asleep on the couch over strange cable programs. Loaning my children the door keys 10 or 15 times so they can go outside and walk around the block by themselves at ten p.m. or go to a bodega to buy gum. Constant street noise, like a chainsaw running constantly next to my head. Less unpleasant than it sounds.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 2:

Collecting ourselves to drive to NY State, with a stop at the Dia:Beacon museum and then to get lost in Brooklyn, which happens on every trip we take. No idea what we'll eat for dinner, but we've received a gift of smoked duck for lunch. I think we'll manage to choke it down.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Day 1 of this ramshackle roadtrip:

Now that we have a new tire, we are leaving this morning for Amherst, Massachusetts, home of my in-laws. Picnic by the sea en route. Picnic menu: tuna and caper sandwiches, carrot sticks, oranges, cheddar, sesame crackers, Scotch shortbread, ice tea, blue-checked tablecloth. I seem to remember a scene in a Dickens novel (Martin Chuzzlewit?) about a picnic, with the highlight being an attempt to crush a "wops" with a teaspoon.

Tonight is likely to be dinner at Bub's Bar-B-Q, which does not need a description. I don't recall any Dickens's scenes about barbecue, although he does talk often about grilling chops on a gridiron.

Monday, June 1, 2009

London, 1802

William Wordsworth

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart;
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.