The Writer's Almanac
Each day, Garrison Keillor reads a poem and relates stories of significant events touching literary history.
Before the beginning Thou hast foreknown the end, Before the birthday the death-bed was seen of Thee: Cleanse what I cannot cleanse, mend what I cannot mend. O Lord All-Merciful, be merciful to me. While the end is drawing near I know not mine end: Birth I recall not, my death I cannot foresee: O... Read more »
Nests in the eaves stir in the dawn Ephemeral as our peace Morning prayer Grace before food I understand The endless sky the small earth The shadow cone Your shining Lips and eyes Your thighs drenched with the sea A telescope full of fireflies Innumerable nebulae all departing Ten billion years before we ever met
When I was a child I once sat sobbing on the floor Beside my mother’s piano As she played and sang For there was in her singing A shy yet solemn glory My smallness could not hold And when I was asked Why I was crying I had no words for it I only shook... Read more »
When we two parted In silence and tears, Half broken —hearted To sever for years, Pale grew thy cheek and cold, Colder thy kiss; Truly that hour foretold Sorrow to this. The dew of the morning Sunk chill on my brow— It felt like the warning Of what I feel now. Thy vows are all... Read more »
Like to the falling of a Star; Or as the flights of Eagles are; Or like the fresh spring’s gaudy hue; Or silver drops of morning dew; Or like a wind that chafes the flood; Or bubbles which on water stood; Even such is man, whose borrowed light Is straight called in, and paid to... Read more »
The text of today’s poem is not available online. Listen to it here.