Sunday, April 5, 2009

amy's spring day

It's National Poetry Month again -- and it's spring -- which made me think of Amy Lowell's "Spring Day," a kind of Whitmanesque, morning-to-night flowing rush of verse. Amy could be a bit over the top sometimes, but I've always liked her enthusiasm for life and how her work is so full of vivid colors and impressions. Born February 9, 1874 into the prominent Lowell family of Massachusetts, Amy won the Pulitzer Prize shortly after her death in 1925. Most likely a lesbian, she was apparently disinclined toward convention and had a strong passion for poetry and the arts. This excerpt is from the Breakfast Table portion of "Spring Day," with an accompanying painting by Edouard Vuillard (The Breakfast, 1892). "Spring Day" in its entirety can be found by clicking here.

In the fresh-washed sunlight, the breakfast table is decked
and white.
It offers itself in flat surrender, tendering tastes, and smells,
and colours, and metals, and grains, and the white cloth falls over its side,
draped and wide. Wheels of white glitter in the silver coffee-pot,
hot and spinning like catherine-wheels, they whirl, and twirl -- and
my eyes
begin to smart, the little white, dazzling wheels prick them like darts.
Placid and peaceful, the rolls of bread spread themselves in the sun
to bask.
A stack of butter-pats, pyramidal, shout orange through the white,
flutter, call: "Yellow! Yellow! Yellow!" Coffee steam rises in a
clouds the silver tea-service with mist, and twists up into the sunlight,
revolved, involuted, suspiring higher and higher, fluting in a thin spiral
up the high blue sky....