Elizabeth Bishop

(8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979 / Worcester, Massachusetts)

Little Exercise - Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

For Thomas Edwards Wanning


Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily
like a dog looking for a place to sleep in,
listen to it growling.

Think how they must look now, the mangrove keys
lying out there unresponsive to the lightning
in dark, coarse-fibred families,

where occasionally a heron may undo his head,
shake up his feathers, make an uncertain comment
when the surrounding water shines.

Think of the boulevard and the little palm trees
all stuck in rows, suddenly revealed
as fistfuls of limp fish-skeletons.

It is raining there. The boulevard
and its broken sidewalks with weeds in every crack,
are relieved to be wet, the sea to be freshened.

Now the storm goes away again in a series
of small, badly lit battle-scenes,
each in "Another part of the field."

Think of someone sleeping in the bottom of a row-boat
tied to a mangrove root or the pile of a bridge;
think of him as uninjured, barely disturbed.


Comments about Little Exercise by Elizabeth Bishop

  • Anil Kumar Panda (9/13/2018 11:26:00 AM)


    A wonderful poem indeed. Clever use of words giving a sweet flow to the poem. Enjoyed. (Report) Reply

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  • Adrian Flett (9/13/2018 3:53:00 AM)


    Wonderful imagery, 'badly lit battle-scenes' and 'like a dog looking for a place to sleep in' (Report) Reply

  • Petals Azureblue (9/13/2018 2:28:00 AM)


    where occasionally a heron may undo his head,
    shake up his feathers, make an uncertain comment

    I enjoyed the humorous descriptions of nature in the storm... Then in the last stanza the sombre part...can't be fun caught in the storm like that. This poem is do beautifully packaged. Thank go posting
    (Report) Reply

  • Mahtab Bangalee (9/13/2018 1:46:00 AM)


    think of him as uninjured in-
    the storm
    in dark coarse- fibred families
    the surrounding water
    all stuck as fistfuls of limp fish-skeletons

    but injured all in man made (battle) field!
    (Report) Reply

  • Kumarmani Mahakul (9/13/2018 12:54:00 AM)


    A beautiful poem on storm and nature has been nicely and astutely executed. (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (5/4/2016 2:49:00 AM)


    Now the storm goes away again in a series! Nice work. (Report) Reply

Read all 6 comments »



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Read poems about / on: fish, dog, sleep, water, sea, dark, sky, rain, family, fishing, tree



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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