Poem of the Month: December 2014 – The Coming of Light, Mark Strand

Poem of the Month

Portrait Of Mark StrandThe poet and former US Poet Laureate Mark Strand died over Thanksgiving weekend, at the age of 80. In a 1998 interview with the Paris Review, Strand confided that “he writes in longhand and delays typing for as long as possible, he explains, because ‘when I read a poem in longhand, I’m hearing it. When I read it in typescript, I’m reading it. A poem can appear finished just because of the cleanness of the typescript, and I don’t want it to seem finished before it is. A poem has already been brought into the world to some extent when it’s typed. I feel more like an editor than a poet after that.’ Often, after reading what he has typed, he’ll ‘go back to longhand for a few weeks.'”

The Coming of Light

Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow’s dust flares into breath.

–Mark Strand (1934-Nov 29, 2014)

(c) material used for educational purposes

coming of lightJournal Prompts

  • Begin a write, “Even this late….”
  • What does the winter solstice — the coming of light — signify to you? What fresh start or new illumination might be planted this month?
  • Begin a write, “I wake and…”
  • Write about a time when it wasn’t too late.
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