04 August 2010

In celebration of summer

Yes, I've been away. Like great world leaders of generations past, I took to my western ranch for a working vacation. By working, I mean gin. Some time in the Montana mountains was evidently just what I needed to come back feeling lazier than ever. I did, however, make a recess appointment to the Going40 cabinet. Ann W, frequent commenter and renowned teacher of lit'rature, is our new Poetry Curator-in-Residence. I asked her to begin her term by sharing a poem that we can all memorize together, one that encapsulates this particular time of year, when summer is on the wane but we're not quite ready to think of autumn. Think of it as Going40 secret code: you're at a party; you recite a line from the poem out loud, as you're loading down your plate with macaroons. From across the room, someone you've never seen before echoes the line. You both pause and smile, and then, from down the street, you hear the stanza completed by the disembodied voice of a teenager going by on her longboard. Nirvana. So here, a poem by William Stafford:

Why I am Happy

Now has come, an easy time. I let it
roll. There is a lake somewhere
so blue and far nobody owns it.
A wind comes by and a willow listens

I hear all this, every summer. I laugh
and cry for every turn of the world,
its terribly cold, innocent spin.
That lake stays blue and free; it goes
on and on.

And I know where it is.


  1. That's beautiful.

    (The part about the gin I mean. The poem's not bad either.)

  2. The first couple times I read your intro to this lovely poem, the line break fell between "skateboard" and "Nirvana." And between those two words I saw a comma. And I thought you were talking about a teenager who had named her skateboard. And I admit, I was a tiny bit confused. Then I went to lunch and did four more hours of therapy with that idea, just so you know. When I reread it, I saw a different punctuation mark, and reality shifted a little. Isn't that just like poetry?

    It's *such* a good thing that I'm not the Poetry Curator.

  3. 1. Welcome home. We missed you.

    B. That poem just blows. Me. Away.

  4. I think that G40 should also have a secret code toenail polish color, since yesterday while getting a pedicure I recognized someone I only "know" through our mutual presence on your FB page. Plus, the color I chose yesterday has apparently been discontinued, which will now make it very exclusive and difficult to find.

    Lovely poem, Ann.

  5. Ann, your inaugural choice also typifies our blogger's not-so-secret love of the well-placed semicolon. Booya!

    And I heartily second Elise.


As always, civility reigns, but cleverness trumps.

They shall be called my disciples.