The Writer's Almanac
Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.
In space (the experiment suggested by two fifth graders), a Canadian astronaut wrings water out of a towel. It stays by the towel, horizontal transparent isinglass, a hyaline column. Then begins to cover his hands, his wrists, stays on them until he passes it to another towel. On earth some who watch this recognize the... Read more »
In the long, sleepless watches of the night, A gentle face—the face of one long dead— Looks at me from the wall, where round its head The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light. Here in this room she died; and soul more white Never through martyrdom of fire was led To its repose; nor... Read more »
It comes when you’re not looking. Has been there Before you noticed. Blazes forth between The hickory’s new leaves, their tender green Massy above you flopped into a chair, Hot from the garden, with an aching back. Two phoebes flit from tree to eave to tree Feeding the tyrant nestlings you can’t see; You watch... Read more »
It cannot save itself when it expires like a tire’s slow leak. It cannot bring back the greediness of youth mouth on mouth, skin on skin, that gnawing, that longing you carried until the next time and then there is no next time. You never see it coming but always see it leaving. It waits... Read more »
There were towns that knew about the flu before it arrived; they had time to imagine the germs on a stranger’s skirts, to see how death could be sealed in an envelope, how a fever could bloom in the evening, and take a life overnight. A few villages, deep in the mountains, posted guards on... Read more »
The sky is crumbling into millions of paper dots the wind blows in my face so I duck into my favorite barbershop and listen to Vivaldi and look in the mirror reflecting the shopfront windows, Broadway and 104th, and watch the dots blown by the wind blow into the faces of the walkers outside &... Read more »