As Henry Moore carved or modelled his sculpture every day, he strove to surpass Donatello 4. and failed, but woke the next morning elated for another try.
I'm happy to feed the squirrels - tree rats with the agility of point guards - but in fair weather, they frighten my finches. They leap from snowbank to porch to feeder and stuff their cheek pouches with chickadee feed.
Many years, I would publish four books - an anthology, a book of criticism, a new book of poems, a book of essays.
By 1968, I had lived 10 years in Michigan. Gradually, I had come to love watching Detroit's baseball club in its small, beautiful, antiquated Tiger Stadium - a baseball park as fine as Fenway Park or Wrigley Field, though it never got the adulatory press.
In December of 1952, my first wife, Kirby, and I left Vienna to drive through the Russian sector of Austria into Yugoslavia.
We approached Athens from the north in early twilight, climbing a hill. When we reached its peak, we were dazzled to look down and see the Acropolis struck by one beam of the setting sun, as if posing for a picture.
In 1952, I recited aloud for the first time, booming in Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre from a bad poem that had won a prize. I was twenty-three.
On September twentieth every year, I got to choose my menu - meatloaf, corn niblets, and rice were followed by candles on chocolate cake with vanilla icing and a scoop of Brock-Hall ice cream.
I would work until I got stuck, and I would put it down and pick up something else. I might be able to take a 20-minute nap and get to work again. That way, I was able to work about 10 hours a day... It was important to me to work every day. I managed to work on Christmas day, just to be able to say I worked 365 days a year.
As I grew older - collapsing into my seventies, glimpsing ahead the cliffs of the eighties, colliding into eighty-five - poetry abandoned me.
Friends die, friends become demented, friends quarrel, friends drift with old age into silence.
After a couple of years of public high school, I went to Exeter - an insane conglomeration of adolescent males in the wilderness, all of whom claimed to hate poetry.
When I was 12, I had a fondness for horror movies like the 'Wolfman.' The boy next door said I should read Poe.
In 1975, I quit my tenure, and we moved from Ann Arbor to New Hampshire. It was daunting to pay for groceries and the mortgage by freelance writing - but it worked, and I loved doing it.
My problem isn't death but old age. I fret about my lack of balance, my buckling knee, my difficulty standing up and sitting down.
It used to be that one poet in each generation performed poems in public. In the twenties, it was Vachel Lindsay, who sometimes dropped to his knees in the middle of a poem. Then Robert Frost took over, and made his living largely on the road.
I live in the house my great-grandfather moved to in 1865... I spent all my summers here as a kid haying with my grandfather, and it was my favorite place in the world.
I grew up in the suburbs of Connecticut - during the school time of year - but I preferred it in New Hampshire. I preferred the culture, the landscape, the relative solitude. I've always loved it.
When I lived summers at my grandparents' farm, haying with my grandfather from 1938 to 1945, my dear grandmother Kate cooked abominably. For noon dinners, we might eat three days of fricasseed chicken from a setting hen that had boiled twelve hours.
When I lament and darken over my diminishments, I accomplish nothing. It's better to sit at the window all day, pleased to watch birds, barns, and flowers.