LitBirthdays September 1, 2010

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September 1

James Reaney (born September 1, 1926) – Canadian poet, playwright – The Essential James Reaney
James Reaney in 1979

Read about James Reaney here



These clouds are soft fat horses
That draw Weather in his wagon
Who bears in his old hands
Streaked whips and strokes of lightning.
The hooves of his cattle are made
Of limp water, that stamp
Upon the roof during a storm
And fall from dripping eaves;
Yet these hooves have worn away mountains
In their trotting over Earth.
And for manes these clouds
Have the soft and various winds
That still can push
A ship into the sea
And for neighs, the sable thunder.

Read some of Reaney’s poems here:

The Heart and the Sun

“Come to me!” cried the Heart to the Star.
The Heart like a lute, like a red guitar
Thus sang out to its golden lover.
“Stand here within me and kindle
My beating, pulsive breathing;
Pray start those soft footsteps
That in my streets
May march a century.”

“Come to me!” gasped the Heart to the Star.
The Heart like a red bell
Hanging in a walking steeple
Thus sang to its gold beloved.
“Ring me, begin my beating
So that my new, peculiar voice
May sing at last.”

Into the Heart’s red cage
Then ran the young Sun.
Into its blood-filled dungeon
Where like the prisoner of a Maze
His footsteps of Sunsets and Sunrises
Did ticktock five time 5,000 days.
“You are mine! I have caught you!”
Cried the Heart
In her love for the trapped yellow wanderer.

Then came, long after, the winter
When ripely heavy with age
The Heart like a red leaf
Fell from her branch
Into a grave and gray grave.
Pulled by the fierce winter wind
Plucked down by the bold winter cold
The Heart fell from life
And the gold prisoner within her
With swift rust
Wore away her red, russet walls.
When out of that broken heart he flew
He wept and did sadly survey
His dead red mistress
Whose sweet rooms and dungeons
Now swarmed and whirred with decay.
“Alas, my Love, it is your fate and mine
That I someday smother whom I kindle
And give birth to those I’ll someday kill.”

The Ivory Steeple

O proletariat I weep for you!
For your appalling working conditions
For the hole in your shoe.
All my gloves and shoes
Are invisibly mended and holeless
But that is no reason why yours should be.
You really wouldn’t be any different
If you were richer
And I don’t feel at all that you’re submerged.
You make an interesting wallpaper
For my peculiar blessedness.
I can giggle at you reading the funny papers
While I peruse the works of Cyril Tourneur.
You read such things as Handy Andy
While I (for the fourth time) Tristram Shandy.
Oh hawwhawwheeheehahahawwhaww haw hoon you.
And as I can afford my hot water bottles and incense,
A Christmas rose on the window sill,
7 Pairs of brown oxfords and 4 of black,
Recordings of Stravinsky (like monstrous sea-shells)
Singing of seas (blue hands slapping blue faces)
Or Beckford’s Vathek
Or the committing of a delicate original sin
Or reading the latest collection of Anais Nin.
Tour pinched white and gray faces
Peer in
Like small white tracts held off at a distance.
Well . . . is it not all very beautiful?
As you stand hungry in the rain
Just look at what heights you too may attain.

Visit for more poetry

Listen to excerpts of James Reaney reading his poems on the album
Six Toronto Poets
(tracks 41-48)


Lily Tomlin Lily Tomlin (born September 1, 1939) – U.S. comedian, writer, actress – This Is a Recording (Live Performance Album)

Read the Wikipedia article about Lily Tomlin

Visit Lily Tomlin’s website

Watch Lily Tomlin as Edith Anne here


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