Chris Uggen's Blog: the whole house seems to be thinking...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

the whole house seems to be thinking...

esperanza's speech team won its section, so her picture will be immortalized in the school's display cases -- just like that of her tie-dyed brother. she competes in poetry, weaving together different inmate writings and delivering them with respect, understanding, and intensity.

i love to see my kids performing or competing, but there's really nothing better than observing them writing in a quiet house, late at night. tor pecks away fiercely, hunched at the computer, while esperanza is more prone to a comfortable chair, paper, and pencil. here's a poem on the subject from richard wilbur:

The Writer

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.

I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.

Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.

But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which

The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.

I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash

And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark

And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,

And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,

It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.

It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.


At 10:51 AM, Blogger timna said...

thanks. what a perfect poem for these days of deciding for the seniors.

my daughter's also on that team, but I didn't know to look for the picture at the school.


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