Treasure Island

William De Witt Snodgrass

(January 5, 1926 – January 13, 2009 / Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania)

William De Witt Snodgrass
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William De Witt Snodgrass was an American poet who also wrote under the pseudonym S. S. Gardons. He won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Life

W. D. Snodgrass was born on January 5, 1926 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania; the family lived in Wilkinsburg, but drove to Beaver Falls for his birth since his grandfather was a doctor in the town. Eventually the family moved to Beaver Falls and Snodgrass graduated from the local high school in 1943. He then attended Geneva College until 1944 and had an offer from the Juilliard School for admission because of his musical abilities on the timpani, but he was drafted into the United States Navy before he could accept. After ... more »

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  • kskdnj sajn (5/30/2006 8:26:00 AM)

    Monet: “Les Nymphéas”
    by W. D. Snodgrass


    The eyelids glowing, some chill morning.
    O world half-known through opening, twilit lids
    Before the vague face clenches into light;
    O universal waters like a cloud,
    Like those first clouds of half-created matter;
    O all things rising, rising like the fumes
    From waters falling, O forever falling;
    Infinite, the skeletal shells that fall, relinquished,
    The snowsoft sift of the diatoms, like selves
    Downdrifting age upon age through milky oceans;
    O slow downdrifting of the atoms;
    O island nebulae and O the nebulous islands
    Wandering these mists like falsefires, which are true,
    Bobbing like milkweed, like warm lanterns bobbing
    Through the snowfilled windless air, blinking and passing
    As we pass into the memory of women
    Who are passing. Within those depths
    What ravening? What devouring rage?
    How shall our living know its ends of yielding?
    These things have taken me as the mouth an orange—
    That acrid sweet juice entering every cell;
    And I am shared out. I become these things:
    These lilies, if these things are water lilies
    Which are dancers growing dim across no floor;
    These mayflies; whirled dust orbiting in the sun;
    This blossoming diffused as rushlights; galactic vapors;
    Fluorescence into which we pass and penetrate;
    O soft as the thighs of women;
    O radiance, into which I go on dying...

  • Laura Laub (6/10/2004 6:22:00 PM)

    For Mr. W. D. Snodgrass

    If I could only write your way
    That would be my happiest day
    To touch the soul of every kind
    To open up every mind

    Oh, if Icould only write your way
    What is it I would say?

    Your words, your thoughts
    Will always stay
    Imbedded in my heart
    Til darkness has swept me away

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