I Am In Need of Music
By Elizabeth Bishop
I am in need of music that would flow
Over my fretful, feeling fingertips,
Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips,
With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow.
Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low,
Of some song sung to rest the tired dead,
A song to fall like water on my head,
And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!
There is a magic made by melody:
A spell of rest, and quiet breath, and cool
Heart, that sinks through fading colors deep
To the sub aqueous stillness of the sea,
And floats forever in a moon-green pool,
Held in the arms of rhythm and of sleep.
Elizabeth Bishop (8 February 1911 – 6 October 1979) was an American poet. She was the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1949 to 1950. In 1956 Bishop received the Pulitzer Prize for a collection of poetry, Poems: North & South/A Cold Spring. In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, Bishop also won the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award as well as two Guggenheim Fellowships and an Ingram Merrill Foundation grant. In 1976, she became the first woman to receive the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and remains the only American to be awarded that prize. In 1977, Bishop published her last book, Geography III, and two years later, she died of a cerebral aneurysm in her apartment at Lewis Wharf, Boston. She is considered one of the most important and distinguished American poets of the 20th century.
“Elizabeth Bishop is the contemporary poet that I admire most …. There’s a beautiful completeness to all of Bishop’s poetry. I don’t think anyone alive has a better eye than she had: The eye that sees things and the mind behind the eye that remembers.” – Robert Lowell (Pulitzer winning poet).