Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Windows

The room where I write these posts is the reclaimed bedroom of our older daughter Amy who has been gone from the house since 1999.  We called it "Amy's old bedroom" for years and have switched over to calling it "the computer room" since that's where our main computer is located. It's on the second floor of our three-level house, which has a walk-out basement so that computer room is about thirty feet in the air. In the summer, what is mostly visible from the two windows are oak trees, which fill the windows with green.

I spend a lot of time in this room, writing and scoring SAT essays eight times during the school year. I especially enjoy it during the summer. I bring up some tower fans from the basement to draw cool air from the main level. It's a comfortable and airy place to write. Nacho the cat likes to lie in the open window facing the street especially when the sun streams in. Cats are no fools.

I think of a couple of poems when I'm in this room.  One is "The Writer" by contemporary poet Richard Wilbur who not incidentally was my freshman composition teacher if you can believe that. The poem is about his daughter writing with a typewriter in an upper room. It begins:

In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story. 
It's a graceful and thoughtful poem. If you want to read the rest, and I would recommend you do so, it's available at

The other poem the computer room puts me in mind of is the well-known English major favorite "The Garden" by Andrew Marvell.  In the piece, the poet describes his garden and experiences a kind of seventeenth century out-of-body experience as he is overwhelmed by the beauty and power of the garden:

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less,
Withdraws into its happiness :
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find ;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas ;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

That's just part of the poem: the rest is available at

So, for today, a little poetry and a wish that you have your own "green retreat" and spend some time there soon.

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