Elizabeth Bishop


 Poet Elizabeth Bishop was born on February 8,1911 in Worcester, Massachusetts. When Elizabeth was only 8 months old her father died from a building accident. A few years later in 1916 her mother became mentally ill and was institutionalized. Then in her early childhood had to go live with her grandparents on a farm in Great Village, Nova Scotia. A little later Elizabeth's grandparents realized she was unhappy living with them so they sent her to live with her aunt (her mom's older sister). Her grandparents paid for her education because they wanted her to have a good education. The family later moved to Cliftondale, Massachusetts. While in Cliftondale Elizabeth's aunt introduced her to the works of Victorian poets.

  Elizabeth Bishop became a writer and then taught at the University of Washington, then later taught at Harvard University for seven years. After Harvard she taught at New York University before finishing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Throughout her life she wrote books and believed children could write wonderful things and encouraged them. Two years after publishing her last book Elizabeth died of cerebral aneurysm in 1979 at age 68.

A Summer’s Dream

To the sagging wharf
few ships could come.
The population numbered
two giants, an idiot, a dwarf,

a gentle storekeeper
asleep behind his counter,
and our kind landlady—
the dwarf was her dressmaker.

The idiot could be beguiled
by picking blackberries,
but then threw them away.
The shrunken seamstress smiled.

By the sea, lying
blue as a mackerel,
our boarding house was streaked
as though it had been crying.

Extraordinary geraniums
crowded the front windows,
the floors glittered with
assorted linoleums.

Every night we listened
for a horned owl.
In the horned lamp flame,
the wallpaper glistened.

The giant with the stammer
was the landlady’s son,
grumbling on the stairs
over an old grammar.

He was morose,
but she was cheerful.
The bedroom was cold,
the feather bed close.

We were awakened in the dark by
the somnambulist brook
nearing the sea,
still dreaming audibly.