Archives for posts with tag: Elizabeth Bishop

The One Page Poetry Circle met on May 8th to discuss Poetry and Choice. We all agreed that Choice was a wonderful theme for the last program of the spring season. We enjoyed the variety of poems even though two were by Robert Frost and three were sonnets. The poems reflected the myriad choices we make every day.

Abigail opened our discussion by reading the ending of Mathilde Blind’s drama in miniature, The Russian Student’s Tale,” in which a woman tells a man of her past and he realizes his own limitations, as well as the failure of society, “Poor craven creature! What was I,/To sit in judgment on her life,/Who dared not make this child my wife,/And lift her up to love’s own sky?”

Roger read Robert Frost’s The Armful” in which the poet reflects on keeping the aspects of his life in balance, “I had to drop the armful in the road/And try to stack them in a better load.” The poem appeared in the New York City subway series Poetry In Motion.

Hazel read Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet XLIII,” “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” a celebration of the different ways the author chooses to love, ending with eternal love, “and, if God choose,/I shall but love thee better after death.”

Gail read Balance” by Alice B. Fogel, the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, “Balance is everything, is the only/way to hold on./I’ve weighed the alternatives, the hold/as harbor: It isn’t safe/to let go.” This poem generated much discussion about its line-by-line meaning although we all know the importance of keeping ourselves in balance in this crazy world.

Ken read Federico Garcia Lorca’s Qasida of the Dark Doves,” an enigmatic poem that generates a surrealistic mood, “Through the laurel branches/I spied two dark doves./One was the sun,/the other the moon.”

Linda read Sonnet XLV” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, telling of a fraught relationship, “I know my mind and I have made my choice;/Not from your temper does my doom depend;/Love me or love me not, you have no voice/In this, which is my portion to the end.”

Cate read Wallace Stevens’s Thirteen ways of Looking at a Blackbird” and let us choose which one we liked best. AnnaLee chose V: “I do not know which to prefer,/The beauty of inflections/Or the beauty of innuendoes,/The blackbird whistling/Or just after.”

Susan read One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop in which the narrator chooses to learn how to lose things or perhaps the things choose to be lost, “The art of losing isn’t hard to master;/so many things seem filled with the intent/to be lost that their loss is no disaster.”

Carol read Allen Steble’s Choices,” which reminded her that we do have a choice in our perspective on life, “We all have a choice/to climb our highest mountain/or fall into our deepest hole/to drink from life’s fountain/or live life like a troubled soul.”

AnnaLee closed the circle with Robert Frost’s beautiful Choose Something Like a Star,” “So when at times the mob is swayed/To carry praise or blame too far,/We may choose something like a star/To stay our minds on and be staid.” This poem was set to music in Randall Thompson’s Frostiana,” a 1959 choral work.

Have a wonderful summer and we will see you in the fall. In the meantime, blog with us at Don’t be shy.

Fall 2018 Schedule (all Tuesdays)
September 11, Poetry and Disaster
Tuesday, October 9, Cowboy Poetry
Tuesday, November 13, Poetry and Simplicity
December 11, Poetry and Wine

Abigail Burnham Bloom and
AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.


The One Page Poetry Circle opened its fall season on September 8 with a favorite poem. Everyone seemed to find this assignment difficult. Most of us could point to many poems we’d loved since childhood, some reflecting a significant period of time in our lives or a connection with a particular person.

Abigail began with “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” in which William Wordsworth describes his double joy, first of happening upon a scene, “When all at once I saw a crowd,/A host, of golden daffodils,” then in his ability to later recollect it, “And then my heart with pleasure fills,/And dances with the daffodils.”

Roger read William Ernest Henley’s “Invictus” which was important to him when he faced cancer, “It matters not how strait the gate,/How charged with punishments the scroll,/I am the master of my fate,/I am the captain of my soul.”

Hazel read Robert Burns’s “Afton Water,” “Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,/Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays” which she chose because it was her father’s favorite and because it was a love poem and not depressing, unlike so many of the poems she considered.

Phil read Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art,” as he fears he is at the age where he is losing everything, “It’s evident/the art of losing’s not too hard to master/though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.”

Gale read “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell, with its description of slow seduction and final account of what should transpire between the couple, “Now let us sport us while we may,/And now, like amorous birds of prey.”

Terry read Edwin Markham’s “The Right Kind of People” a fable in which a wise man tells each traveler what kind of people to expect in the city ahead. He bases his answers on the traveler’s own account of the people in the city he just left: “Gone is the city, gone is the day,/Yet still the story and the meaning stay.”

Karen read Li-Young Lee’s “From Blossoms,” with its description of where peaches originate, “There are days we live/as if death were nowhere/in the background; from joy/to joy, from wing to wing,/from blossom to blossom to/impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.”

AnnaLee read “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens and of the myriad possible ways, AnnaLee stated the fifth was her favorite: “I do not know which to prefer,/The beauty of inflections/Or the beauty of innuendoes,/The blackbird whistling/Or just after.”

Ralda read “Pied Beauty” by Gerard Manley Hopkins with its beautiful descriptions of the complicated and imperfect: “Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;/And all trades, their gear ad tackle trim.”

We look forward to our next OPPC on October 13: Poetry and Ghosts and Zombies. Bring a friend and widen the circle!

Fall Schedule:

October 13: Poetry and Ghosts and Zombies
November 10: Poetry and Clothes
December 8: Poetry and Marriage

Abigail Burnham Bloom and AnnaLee Wilson

The One Page Poetry Circle is sponsored by the New York Public Library and is open to all. St. Agnes Branch Library is handicap accessible.