Monday, November 17, 2008

I'm singing some settings of Elizabeth Bishop poems on a friend's recital in a few days, and I get to sing this lyric, which I love:
I'm going to go and take the bus
and find someone monogamous.
I'm just saying. That's a great couplet. Actually, everything I'm singing on this program is full of terrific poetry. This is not always the case with art songs. Here's the last song text in the bunch, another Bishop poem, one she never published (she was raised in Nova Scotia but was living in Brazil when she wrote the poem, in case you like context):
Dear, my compass
Still points north
To wooden houses
And blue eyes,

Fairy-tales where
Younger sons
Bring home the goose,

Love in hay-lofts,
Protestants, and
Heavy drinkers…
Springs are backward,

But crab-apples
Ripen to rubies,
To drops of blood,

And swans can paddle
Icy water,
So hot the blood
In those webbed feet.

—Cold as it is, we’d
go to bed, dear,
early, but never
to keep warm.


  1. I've never read any of her poems. Cool.

  2. I am transported back to 1998, when I was writing my interdisciplanary Gender and Women's Studies capstone paper (for a course hilariously titled "Gender and Tourism") on Elizabeth Bishop and the lesbian tourist's eye as reflected in a selection of poems. Good times... And yet another example of what makes my father shake his head in disgust and say "We sent you to college to do THAT?"