From the R&RG Archive: “I Love All Beauteous Things”

Friends, this week has been a busy one. In addition to work and the other work of child-chasing, there’s been traveling and a tiny bit of writing and even reading. I’m *this close* to finishing two books I’m very much enjoying (one novel, one collection of poems), so this week I’m taking you back to the archive, by which I mean a post from 2013, when not too many readers were to be found hereabouts.

I’ve picked this post because of its connection to a favorite book of mine. My sister’s baby shower was this past weekend, and one of the gifts we gave her is a copy of Miss Rumphius, which you must go read for yourself if you haven’t already. And just learned that Barbara Cooney’s original artwork for Miss Rumphius is in the museum at Bowdoin College, which is serendipitous because I know a certain incoming freshman who is just dying to give a museum tour—probably early on a Saturday morning, right?—to his extremely nerdy and old cousin (hey there, FB!) . . .


 

Robert Bridges’s fine poem is a brief, honestly joyous celebration of the beautiful, and our urge to create something beautiful ourselves. In the second stanza, he writes: “I too will something make / and joy in the making” even if his creation proves ephemeral.

One of the pleasures of this little poem, for me, is that it reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. In the book, Miss Rumphius (as a child) is told by her grandfather that she must (among other things) over the course of her life do something to make the world more beautiful.

Isn’t that lovely?

I’ve loved this book since I was a little girl, and when I’m feeling reflective, I remember the beautiful illustrations and ask myself if I’ve done anything lately to make the world more beautiful, and, more importantly, what I can still do.

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(I’ll let you find out for yourself what Miss Rumphius sets out to do.)

Recommended Reading: The Niagara River, by Kay Ryan

Back in late July, I featured a poem called “Thin,” by Kay Ryan.  I liked it so much that I went to the library that week to find a full-length book of hers, and the library obligingly provided The Niagara River. As a child, I spent many happy summer afternoons jumping into the Niagara River from my Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary Kay’s dock, so the whole thing seemed beshert.

Image courtesy of  George Stojkovic / Freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of George Stojkovic / Freedigitalphotos.net

I love these poems. They’re unlike any others in my pretty extensive poetry library. They’re short, rarely flowing from one page onto another, and the lines are short as well, often just three or four syllables in length. I found the rhythm, and the occasional rhymes, jarring, but not unpleasantly so. Many of the poems end with a subtle twist, a line that forces the whole poem into sharper focus. These poems call for slow reading and then re-reading; I wanted to savor and remember them.

Some of my favorites in this volume are “Carrying a Ladder,” “Sharks’ Teeth,” “Green Hills,” “Ideal Audience,” “Hide and Seek,” and “The Well or the Cup.” I hope you’ll have a look at them for yourself.

“I Love All Beauteous Things”

Robert Bridges’s fine poem is a brief, honestly joyous celebration of the beautiful, and our urge to create something beautiful ourselves. In the second stanza, he writes: “I too will something make / and joy in the making” even if his creation proves ephemeral.

One of the pleasures of this little poem, for me, is that it reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. In the book, Miss Rumphius (as a child) is told by her grandfather that she must, over the course of her life, do something to make the world more beautiful.

Isn’t that lovely?

I’ve loved this book since I was a little girl, and when I’m feeling reflective, I remember the beautiful illustrations and ask myself if I’ve done anything lately to make the world more beautiful, and, more importantly, what I can still do.

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

(I’ll let you find out for yourself what Miss Rumphius sets out to do.)