Today’s Writer’s Almanac featured this poem (and also a description of the “Stella shouting contest, also known as the ‘Stell-off'” that’s part of a Tennessee Williams festival–the Writer’s Almanac is nothing if not varied):
What matters most? It’s a foolish question because I’m hanging on,
just like you. No, I’m past hanging on. It’s after midnight and I’m falling
toward four a.m., the best time for ghosts, terror, and lost hopes.
No one says anything of significance to me. I don’t care if the President’s
a two year old, and the Vice President’s four. I don’t care if you’re
cashing in your stocks or building homes for the homeless.
I was a caring person. I would make soup and grow you many flowers.
I would enter your world, my hands open to catch your tears,
my lips on your lips in case we both went deaf and blind.
But I don’t care about your birthday, or Christmas, or lover’s lane,
or even you, not as much as I pretend. Ah, I was about to say,
“I don’t care about the stars” — but I had to stop my pen.
Sometimes, out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside
I glance up and see everything that’s not on earth, glowing, pulsing,
each star so close to the next and yet so far away.
Oh, the stars. In lines and curves, with fainter, more mysterious
designs beyond, and again, beyond. The longer I look, the more I see,
and the more I see, the deeper the universe grows.
I have a long way to go, and I’m starting now —
out in the silent black Wisconsin countryside.