Donald Hall – Poet Laureate 2006-2007

Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College in 1951, and in 1953 his bachelor’s in literature from Oxford University. For the past thirty years he has lived on Eagle Pond Farm in rural New Hampshire, in the house where his grandmother and mother were born. Hall has published 15 books of poetry, beginning with “Exiles and Marriages” in 1955. Earlier this year, he published “White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems 1946–2006” (Houghton Mifflin), a volume of his essential life’s work. Donald Hall received the Marshall/Nation Award in 1987 for his “The Happy Man”; both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Award in 1988 for “The One Day”; the Lily Prize for Poetry in 1994; and two Guggenheim Fellowships. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Sudden Things

A storm was coming, that was why it was dark. The wind was blowing
the fronds of the palm trees off. They were maples. I looked out the
window across the big lawn. The house was huge, full of children and
old people. The lion was loose. Either because of the wind, or by
malevolent human energy, which is the same thing, the cage had come
open. Suppose a child walked outside!A child walked outside.

I knew that I must protect him from the lion. I
threw myself on top of the child. The lion roared over me. In the
branches and the bushes there was suddenly a loud crackling. The lion
cringed. I looked up and saw that the elephant was loose!

The elephant was taller than the redwoods. He was hairy like a
mammoth. His tusks trailed vines. Parrots screeched around his head.
His eyes rolled crazily. He trumpeted. The ice-cap was breaking up!

The lion backed off, whining. The boy ran for the house. I covered his
retreat, locked all the doors and pulled the bars across them. An old
lady tried to open a door to get a better look. I spoke sharply to her,
she sat down grumbling and pulled a blanket over her knees.

Out of the window I saw zebras and rattlesnakes and wildebeests and
cougars and woodchucks on the lawns and in the tennis courts. I
worried how, after the storm, we would put the animals back in their
cages, and get to the mainland.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on stock.xchng

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