Archives for posts with tag: John Updike

The One Page Poetry Circle met on December 12 to discuss Poetry and Windows.

Abigail opened the circle with William Allingham’s poem about a pool glimpsed from his window when he was a boy, “Many fine things had I glimpse of,/And said, ‘I shall find them one day.’”

Roger read Carl Sandburg’s “At a Window” which accepts life’s hunger and pain, yet asks for something more, “But leave me a little love,/A voice to speak to me in the day end,/A hand to touch me in the dark room.”

Hazel read “Now and Then” by Ian Hamilton in which the narrator describes an Institution as “so far away,” where “A gentle sun/Smiles on the dark, afflicted heads/Of young men who have come to nothing.”

Gail read Daisy Aldan’s “Women at Windows,” “Always, everywhere, at twilight, a woman/in a black dress leans on her elbows at a window”; these women do not see the world outside, “their eyes are focused IN rather than OUT.”

Patty read John Updike’s “Evening Concert, Saint-Chapelle” revealing the effect of music and stained glass windows: “The music surged; the glow became a milk,/a whisper to the eye, a glimmer ebbed/until our beating hearts, our violins/were cased in thin but solid sheets of lead.”

Linda read the first poem of the evening by Rainer Maria Rilke, “Sense of Something Coming”: “the doors still close softly, and the chimneys are full/of silence,/the windows do not rattle yet, and the dust still lies down.”

Cate read “New Rooms” by Kay Ryan which gave us a good laugh at the end: “The mind must/set itself up/wherever it goes/and it would be/most convenient/to impose its/old rooms—just/tack them up/like an interior/tent. Oh but/the new holes/aren’t where/the windows/went.”

Christiana read “Tulips and Addresses” by Edward Field which combines humor with editorializing, “The Museum of Modern Art on West Fifty-third Street/Is interested only in the flower not the bulb.” Consequently the narrator rescues the bulbs and eventually plants them in his windowbox where we can only hope they flowered.

Carol read Taylor Mali’s “Undivided Attention” in which a teacher loses the focus of his students, “See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year/my students rush to the window/as if snow were more interesting than math,/which, of course, it is.”

AnnaLee read sections II and V from “Les Fenêtres” by Rainer Maria Rilke where inner and outer worlds meet, “You add to everything,/window, a sense of ritual:/ in your frame, merely standing/becomes waiting or meditating.”

Two extra short poems are given in their totality.

First, “Window” by Carl Sandburg

Night from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light. 

And this poem written with a diamond on her window at Woodstock by Queen Elizabeth I

Much suspected by me,
Nothing proved can be,
Quoth Elizabeth prisoner.

Enjoy the holidays! We look forward to seeing you in 2018.

Please blog with us at

Spring 2018 Schedule
February 20: Poetry and Lies
March 6: Poetry and Enjambment
April 17: Poetry and Timing
May 8: Poetry and Choices

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.


Welcome to the One Page Poetry Circle at St. Agnes Branch Library!

Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Place: St. Agnes Branch Library, 444 Amsterdam Ave. (81st St.), 3rd Fl. Theme: Poetry and Health

Find a poem! Read a poem! Discuss a poem! 

OPPC_20150512 We’re back for the seventh season of the One Page Poetry Circle where people gather to examine the works of established poets. While there’s no instructor and this is not a workshop for personal writing, once a month OPPC gives everyone a place to become teachers and learners to explore the form, content, language and meaning of poetry. Since the circle started, participants have selected and discussed 813 poems and have read countless others in pursuit of poetry that speaks to them.

When we approached May’s theme, Poetry and Health, we wondered why we’d chosen what seemed a dreary subject for the merry month. A little research rewarded us with a variety of poems that were rich in irony, humor, sarcasm, madness, longing, even vigor.

Within the older tradition, Dorothy Wordsworth’s plaintive words from 1835 recall what she misses while ill. Dorothy was the sister of the poet William and more known for her journals than her poetry.

When shall I tread your garden path?
Or climb your sheltering hill?
When shall I wander, free as air,
And track the foaming rill?

A prisoner on my pillowed couch
Five years in feebleness I’ve lain,
Oh! shall I e’er with vigorous step
Travel the hills again?

Here, in the opening tercets of “Progressive Health,” the poet Carl Dennis sets a darkly humorous stage for organ donations and the pleas to raise contributions.

We here at Progressive Health would like to thank you
For being one of the generous few who’ve promised
To bequeath your vital organs to whoever needs them.

Now we’d like to give you the opportunity
To step out far in front of the other donors
By acting a little sooner than you expected,

Tomorrow, to be precise, the day you’re scheduled
To come in for your yearly physical. Six patients
Are waiting this very minute in intensive care

Health seems to be a favorite subject of many poets in their mature years. In John Updike’s “Colonoscopy” the poet pokes literary fun at a disgusting rite of age that many of us are all too familiar with:

Talk about intimacy! I’d almost rather not.
The day before, a tussle with nausea
(drink me: a liter of sickly sweet liquid)
and diarrhea, so as to present oneself
pristine as a bride to the groom with his tools,
his probe and tiny TV camera
and honeyed words. He has a tan,
just back from a deserved vacation
from his accustomed nether regions.

Unfortunately we had to cancel our session on Lyric Poetry scheduled for April 14th because of renovation at the St. Agnes Library. We invite you to post your lyric poems and, if you want (and we hope you do), discuss them here on our blog.

Larry, who now lives outside the New York area, posted Charles Simic’s “Poverty” which begins:

When I looked at my poverty:
My boots and the belly of my wife,
The mouse lying in the trap,
And the face of my son while he sleeps,
I know nothing can hurt me any longer.

We look forward to the poems about health that you bring for discussion at the May 12th One Page Poetry Circle.

Bring a friend and widen the circle! And remember to blog with us here. Don’t be shy.

Spring Schedule:
May 12: Poetry and Health

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.