for Elizabeth Bishop
Why did I write of the artist and not her art?
Her art is all, her life mere driftwood,
wrecked ships that once were trees. Most days
were a dreary round of drinking, loving painfully,
and being praised with condescension
for her art: her art which was called womanly
and workmanlike. Yet her poems, precise
and powerful, are trees that will outlive her critics,
are ships that roam the world.