Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Previously Unpublished Elizabeth Bishop Poem is Beautiful

Due to the erotic nature of the work, you could perhaps forgive her for hesitating.

It is marvellous to wake up together
At the same minute; marvellous to hear
The rain begin suddenly all over the roof,
To feel the air suddenly clear
As if electricity had passed through it
From a black mesh of wires in the sky.
All over the roof the rain hisses,
And below, the light falling of kisses.

An electrical storm is coming or moving away;
It is the prickling air that wakes us up.
If lighting struck the house now, it would run
From the four blue china balls on top
Down the roof and down the rods all around us,
And we imagine dreamily
How the whole house caught in a bird-cage of lightning
Would be quite delightful rather than frightening;

And from the same simplified point of view
Of night and lying flat on one's back
All things might change equally easily,
Since always to warn us there must be these black
Electrical wires dangling. Without surprise
The world might change to something quite different,
As the air changes or the lightning comes without our blinking,
Change as our kisses are changing without our thinking.  

from Poems: the Centenary Edition


  1. I love Bishop's poetry, as well as other female poets' love poetry in English, among other kinds of poetry. I maintain a blog of poetry translation. I translated this into Filipino/Tagalog, the first stanza of which is here:

  2. Love this... beautiful! One of my inspirations!



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