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Raymond Carver

carvSophieBassoulsCor460Raymond Clevie Carver, Jr. (May 25, 1938 – August 2, 1988) was an American short-story writer and poet. Carver contributed to the revitalization of the American short story in literature during the 1980s. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Carver was one of a handful of contemporary short story writers credited with reviving what was once thought of as a dying literary form. His stories mainly take place in his native Pacific Northwest region; they are peopled with the type of lower-middle-class characters the author was familiar with while he was growing up. In a New York Review of Books article, Thomas R. Edwards describes Carver’s fictional world as a place where “people worry about whether their old cars will start, where unemployment or personal bankruptcy are present dangers, where a good time consists of smoking pot with the neighbors, with a little cream soda and M & M’s on the side. . . . Carver’s characters are waitresses, mechanics, postmen, high school teachers, factory workers, door-to-door salesmen. [Their surroundings are] not for them a still unspoiled scenic wonderland, but a place where making a living is as hard, and the texture of life as drab, for those without money, as anywhere else.” (Poetry Foundation)

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I liked this poem because I could actually picture it. We caught a ferry from Port Angeles, Washington (where he was writing about) over to Victoria, BC. Port Angeles was a lovely, interesting town with an aquarium right on the docks and hundreds of all colors of starfish attached to the side of the pylons. It was fascinating. 

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At Least

I want to get up early one more morning,
before sunrise. Before the birds, even.
I want to throw cold water on my face
and be at my work table
when the sky lightens and smoke
begins to rise from the chimneys
of the other houses.
I want to see the waves break
on this rocky beach, not just hear them
break as I did all night in my sleep.
I want to see again the ships
that pass through the Strait from every
seafaring country in the world—
old, dirty freighters just barely moving along,
and the swift new cargo vessels
painted every color under the sun
that cut the water as they pass.
I want to keep an eye out for them.
And for the little boat that plies
the water between the ships
and the pilot station near the lighthouse.
I want to see them take a man off the ship
and put another up on board.
I want to spend the day watching this happen
and reach my own conclusions.
I hate to seem greedy—I have so much
to be thankful for already.
But I want to get up early one more morning, at least.
And go to my place with some coffee and wait.
Just wait, to see what’s going to happen.

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Picture Credit: www.theguardian.com

 

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