After that, I had to get out of The Barn. I think I was about as exhausted as the bird.
I had an errand to run on the ocean side of San Francisco, so I thought I’d take a walk on the beach in the storm. That’s my favorite moment on the beach.
It was low tide.
What a relief to be there. Thought of this poem, but harder.
By Richard Wilbur
In her room at the prow of the house
Where the light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
I pause at the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy;
I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking.
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished for you before, but harder.