The Writer's Almanac
Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.
First job. In tight black shorts and a white bowling shirt, red lipstick and bouncing ponytail, I present each overflowing tray as if it were a banquet. I’m sixteen and college-bound; this job’s temporary as the summer sun, but right now it’s the boundaries of my life. After the first few nights of mixed orders... Read more »
The yellow lab outside the coffee shop today cannot sit still; but instead radiates the ever-expectant energy of a thousand hummingbirds, tail sweeping back and forth across the gray, littered sidewalk. Sits without touching the ground, knowing that any moment the one who matters most will emerge, slip his worn leash from the bench and... Read more »
There comes the strangest moment in your life, when everything you thought before breaks free— what you relied upon, as ground-rule and as rite looks upside down from how it used to be. Skin’s gone pale, your brain is shedding cells; you question every tenet you set down; obedient thoughts have turned to infidels and... Read more »
Fair daffodils, we weep to see You haste away so soon: As yet the early-rising sun Has not attained his noon Stay, stay, Until the hasting day Has run But to the evensong; And, having prayed together, we Will go with you along. We have short time to stay as you; We have as short... Read more »
Serene, I fold my hands and wait, Nor care for wind nor tide nor sea; I rave no more ‘gainst time or fate, For lo! my own shall come to me. I stay my haste, I make delays— For what avails this eager pace? I stand amid the eternal ways And what is mine shall... Read more »
My mother cooked as drudgery the same fifteen dishes round and round like a donkey bound to a millstone grinding dust. My mother baked as a dance, the flour falling from the sifter in a rain of fine white pollen. The sugar was sweet snow. The dough beneath her palms was the warm flesh of... Read more »