The Writer's Almanac
Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.
Walking in February A warm day after a long freeze On an old logging road Below Sumas Mountain Cut a walking stick of alder, Looked down through clouds On wet fields of the Nooksack— And stepped on the ice Of a frozen pool across the road. It creaked The white air under Sprang away, long... Read more »
We stand in the rain in a long line waiting at Ford Highland Park. For work. You know what work is—if you’re old enough to read this you know what work is, although you may not do it. Forget you. This is about waiting, shifting from one foot to another. Feeling the light rain falling... Read more »
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 »