Reading Elizabeth Bishop

By Wendy Galgan

This is the first good weather in days.

The bees and I garden all morning,

me deadheading, them passing from blossom to blossom.

After lunch, I tuck my Bishop under my arm,

drag a chair into the shade, and read.

(I can’t see what the bees are up to.)

My pages flutter in the breeze,

which carries the sound of the channel marker

swaying to and fro in the Sheepscot.

That river runs with the tides, and the water’s high.

You are working out back, and the breeze also carries

the smell of freshly turned earth to me.

The wild strawberries are ripe

and lie half-hidden on this patch of lawn.

A butterfly – red and black, but no Monarch –

takes his time with a patch of clover.

A few high clouds form, then blow away in tatters.

In the dappled sunlight, beneath a maple,

I read.


Wendy Galgan is Assistant Professor of English at St.Francis College in Brooklyn.  Her poetry has appeared in print journals such as California Quarterly and The AFCU Journal and on the website On Earth As It Is.  Her poem “Burning Angels: March 25, 2011” is in the anthology Villanelles (edited by Annie Finch and Marie-Elizabeth Mali).  She is editor of Assisi: An Online Journal of Arts & Letters and Director of SFC’s Women’s Poetry Initiative.

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