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Thursday, December 04, 2014

Poetry Friday--Remembering Mark Strand

I'm sure you've all heard by now of the passing of poet, Mark Strand. From 1988 to 1990, Strand was a U.S. Poet Laureate, back when the position was known as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry.

"There is no end to what we can learn." We would do well to remember this line that appears in the following poem.
The Night, the Porch

To stare at nothing is to learn by heart
What all of us will be swept into, and baring oneself
To the wind is feeling the ungraspable somewhere close by.
Trees can sway or be still. Day or night can be what they wish.
What we desire, more than a season or weather, is the comfort
Of being strangers, at least to ourselves. This is the crux
Of the matter. Even now we seem to be waiting for something
Whose appearance would be its vanishing--the sound, say,
Of a few leaves falling, or just one leaf, or less.
There is no end to what we can learn. The book out there
Tells as much, and was never written with us in mind.

Find this poem in The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry, edited by Rita Dove [811.5 PEN].

This week's Poetry Friday Round-Up is found at Booktalking #kidlit: Anastasia Suen's Blog.

The photo, taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1914, is reproduced from a hand-painted glass lantern slide, courtesy Library of Congress.


  1. Oh, I love this one, Diane. Strand was such a lovely poet. Do you know his book, The Making of a Poem?

  2. Wow. Saving this one, Diane. Thanks.

  3. I'm glad you all like it! I haven't read The Making of a Poem--I guess I need to hunt down a copy. Is there anything in particular that appealed to you, Julie?

  4. I love that first line! What a treasure!