Elizabeth Bishop

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


Poem by Elizabeth Bishop

The roaring alongside he takes for granted,
and that every so often the world is bound to shake.
He runs, he runs to the south, finical, awkward,
in a state of controlled panic, a student of Blake.

The beach hisses like fat. On his left, a sheet
of interrupting water comes and goes
and glazes over his dark and brittle feet.
He runs, he runs straight through it, watching his toes.

- Watching, rather, the spaces of sand between them
where (no detail too small) the Atlantic drains
rapidly backwards and downwards. As he runs,
he stares at the dragging grains.

The world is a mist. And then the world is
minute and vast and clear. The tide
is higher or lower. He couldn't tell you which.
His beak is focussed; he is preoccupied,

looking for something, something, something.
Poor bird, he is obsessed!
The millions of grains are black, white, tan, and gray
mixed with quartz grains, rose and amethyst.

Comments about Sandpiper by Elizabeth Bishop

  • April G (12/8/2017 9:34:00 PM)

    Elliot C brought me here!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Captain Herbert PoetryCaptain Herbert Poetry (5/25/2015 9:54:00 PM)

    A very delightful piece of Elizabeth Bishop. A masterpiece(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    5 person did not like.
  • Michael Morgan (2/27/2015 12:12:00 PM)

    Thank God for Elizabeth Bishop. One of his more amusing creations.(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    8 person did not like.
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Read poems about / on: beach, world, rose, water, dark, running

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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