Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sunday Morning Poetry

Autobiographia Literaria

When I was a child
I played by myself in a
corner of the schoolyard
all alone.

I hated dolls and I
hated games, animals were
not friendly and birds
flew away.

If anyone was looking
for me I hid behind a
tree and cried out "I am
an orphan."

And here I am, the
center of all beauty!
writing these poems!
~ Frank O'Hara

As school begins for us in about two weeks, I want to remember this. And watch for those lonely orphans on hiding behind trees. And love them. I took the image above while I was in Oregon, on the coast with Robin.


Suz said...

First of are you,how is your family, I have been praying for you...Just want you to know I am thinking of you
This poem is a simple but oh so complex...Have we not all felt like orphans at one time or another metaphorically..
He was a different kind of poet..but one thing he said I really liked..took with me
something like..Poetry is about the immediacy of life..between two people instead of two pages
Thanks for taking me back to his poetry...bless you Relyn

Char said...


thinking of you and yours

maggie said...

Waking up to ourselves, who we truly are is what I feel it is all about. Lovely poem.

Sweet Tea said...

We have all been orphans, figuratively if not literally. All the more reason to befriend those around us...Great poem

smith kaich jones said...

such a smile you brought to my face. thinking of you and your family today.


Rita said...

You are becoming an amazing photographer (and I'm grateful that you got to be with Robin) and you already were an amazing teacher. Love you!

Anonymous said...

thinking of you and your family, relyn.

Jennifer Richardson said...

Oh that caring hearts really see each child.....all the way down to their hiding places.

I love this.

ELK said...

yes they are always there arent they..thank you for a reminder...

Marilyn said...

What a touching poem. I thought now that couldn't be Relyn, no it was Frank O'Hara.

Sue (Someone's Mom) said...

Aw...a poem I understand easily. I think we all remember those children. I wish I had understood back then what I know now!

suzyQ said...

this is so beautiful. I really love it! My heart always goes out to the lonely children... I know you are a wonderful teacher!

Erin Wallace said...

I love this poem! Amazing.

xo Erin

HKatz said...

An interesting thing about the poem is that the aloneness of the speaker is by choice. It's not that no one looks for him (see third stanza), he just wants his quiet spot away from those dull dolls and games (and maybe even the kind of dramatic feeling it would give him to pretend that he's truly stranded in the world); when he talks about ostracism it's by the 'unfriendly' animals and birds - which are creatures that can't consciously ostracize humans.

This is not to say that there are no genuinely lonely children of course - just that the narrator here is being sly about it; that sense of slyness and self-awareness seems to distinguish him from the kids who in addition to being alone are also lonely (and along with that, perhaps deeply troubled).

HKatz said...

Just as a further note - he reminds me a little of the adult in the William Carlos Williams poem, "Danse Russe", who pretends (when his family is sleeping right in the same house) that he is alone! "I am lonely, lonely.
I was born to be lonely,
I am best so!"
and ends the poem by saying: Who shall say I am not
the happy genius of my household?

Patti said...

What a lovely poem..and you know as well as I that school is filled with them. What a great thing to remember.

S. Etole said...

What a neat poem ...

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