I Have My Say on Bishop on Poetry Says

elizabeth bishop

I had a blast talking to the lovely Alice Allan on her new podcast, Poetry Says. We spoke about a poem I’ve become rather obsessed with, Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Giant Snail‘. I liked the poem so much, in fact, that I wrote one of my own inspired by it! You can listen to the podcast here and read my homage to ‘Giant Snail’ below. And please subscribe to Alice’s podcast! She records a new episode each week.

On Reading Bishop

after Elizabeth Bishop’s ‘Giant Snail’
(for PS Cottier)

A peaceful life is arduous
to attain; desire’s
not enough, nor positive aim —
one side’s withdrawal is always the other’s gain.

What germ inside us inclines towards hate?
It seems to me there must be something
rank and spindly
tangled in the hub of our hearts
disordering their true rotation
until we become beings whose frequency
is attuned to blame.

Therefore, I hold my words
on a parsimonious rein.

Reading Bishop, a distinctive stillness comes.
Like her giant snail I too inch forward
my own amorphous, unguarded
foot absorbing sharp barbs of gravel
avoiding rough spears of grass
as I push, bull-headed, to gain a crack
in God’s sanctuary before sunrise.


4 thoughts on “I Have My Say on Bishop on Poetry Says

  1. Beautiful poem Michele. I miss reading your work and trust it’s time to start looking deeper into the places you’ve been publishing. I’m so happy for the deserving path you and your work have taken.

    I live within an hour of Elizabeth Bishop’s childhood home in Great Village. A lovely spot very close to where my mother was born.

    Warm thoughts and unwavering praise for your poetry. Chris

  2. Hi Chris,
    What a great part of the world you’re in! Thank you so much for your kind words on my poetry. I miss your work too! We are both infrequent bloggers now. But I know you always write more in the winter, so I look forward to reading something of yours soon.
    Take care,

  3. Really enjoyed the podcast, Michele, and I must recommend more poetry contests to you, so you don’t enter them, but write good poems thinking about it…(-:

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