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Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Mother's Day poem of praise

“Journalism wishes to tell what it is that has happened everywhere as though the same things had happened for every man. Poetry wishes to say what it is like for any man to be himself in the presence of a particular occurrence as though only he were alone there.” Archibald MacLeish

Born on this date in 1892, American poet, writer, and Librarian of Congress Archibald MacLeish was associated with the Modernist school of poetry and winner of a remarkable three Pulitzer Prizes for his poems.    MacLeish worked throughout his life to promote the arts, culture, and libraries. Among other impacts, he was the first Librarian of Congress to begin the process of naming what would become the United States Poet Laureate.   For Saturday’s Poem, and for Mother's Day, here is MacLeish’s,

Poem in Prose
This poem is for my wife.
I have made it plainly and honestly:
The mark is on it
Like the burl on the knife.

I have not made it for praise.
She has no more need for praise
Than summer has
Or the bright days.

In all that becomes a woman
Her words and her ways are beautiful:
Love's lovely duty,
the well-swept room.

Wherever she is there is sun
And time and a sweet air:
Peace is there,
Work done.

There are always curtains and flowers
And candles and baked bread
And a cloth spread
And a clean house.

Her voice when she sings is a voice
At dawn by a freshening spring
Where the wave leaps in the wind
And rejoices.

Wherever she is it is now.
It is here where the apples are:
Here in the stars,
In the quick hour.

The greatest and richest good,
My own life to live in,
This she has given me --

If giver could.

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