Friday, July 23, 2010


Poem of the Day:
"ROYGBIV" by Fred D'Aguiar
Poetry, December 2008

Today was a day of books; talking about books, being surrounded by books, but not reading books. Just soaking up books and thinking about why I love books.

D'Aguiar recounts learning how to speak in preschool. He remembers "[t]he shoemaker's wife" (line 1) who ran the preschool and how she beat the practice of recitation into the children. He writes, "She made us recite and learn by rote./Our trick was to mouth words, sound/As if we knew what we would one day/Come to know" (lines 4-7). D'Aguiar's speaker spends much of the poem remembering only the beatings, how "[s]he made us settle our feet on the mud/Floor of her daub and wattle hut and she/Wielded a cane cut from wood" (lines 10-12).

At the close of the poem the beatings evaporate quickly, the sting still fresh but the beauty of learning speech, of one day being able to read, quite clear:

so we stilled our feet
And spoke the words in the right order
For colors in a rainbow until the very

Thing took her place in front of us
Arranged in cuneiform, polished,
Brandishing a window to climb out

Today after meeting with a few friends in Harvard Square I ran into the Harvard Coop to escape the rain. I walked through the shelves of books, not looking, just placing myself among them. I felt safe from the rain, and excited about the world, about the thick paper coats, "a window to climb out," eying my wet sweater.

A Poem A Day Audrey


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