I long for returning to New England in the fall but I really can't complain about Iowa especially with the weather this year. However, I do miss celebrating Columbus Day weekend, which should always be spent at Baxter State Park in Maine. (I whined about this last year too if you want to read about it. The first part of previous post is here.)
I am enjoying the Ben Franklin biography very much. He was a complicated man but he does inspire one to begin a self improvement program. Well, almost. As the author points out he does seem to be the founding father that we would most likely be comfortable drinking a pint with. The most entertaining probably as well.
I took a break this weekend from the bio and was thumbing through another neglected book on my shelf The Poetry Anthology 1912-2002. It is the best magazine of poetry ever. Nothing could compare and itself is a guide to our literary culture. Granted that includes Joyce Kilmer's Trees as well as Eliot, Pound, and Plath. I ran across several Iowa allusions which I will share this week. The first is an airport poem and since I am heading out to Moline to pick someone up at the airport it seemed appropriate. It is by Philip Booth who dies earlier this year. For more about him see the Academy of American Poets here.
Seeing Auden Off
Ithaca last night, Syracuse at noon, Cedar Rapids tonight.
His face cracked like a dry salt flat, a line for every poem,
he tries two airport Gibsons, reserved (behind dark glasses)
for his flight. Sleet primes the runways, candlelight
preserves the bar. The jets suck air, burning their own feces.
Jakarta, Shannon, Idlewild, are everywhere the same.
He autographs deserted landing strips. In Iowa tonight
he’ll sign five gins, whet his faults, and lust for limestone.
He has his autopilot on; who am I to name the pieces
into which a poet cracks? Fire and sleet and candlelight.
I gulp the beer he pays for, and see through his smeared glasses
the dark impossibility of home: we drink the price of being done
with Ithaca and Syracuse; I wave him off, toward Iowa, tonight.
Philip Booth (1925-2007)