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Hayden Carruth: used rural New England imagery like Jane Kenyon and Donald Hall

Author of more than 30 books of poetry including The Voice That Is Great Within Us

  • Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey
  • Scrambled eggs and whiskey
  • in the false-dawn light. Chicago,
  • a sweet town, bleak, God knows,
  • but sweet. Sometimes. And
  • weren’t we fine tonight?
  • When Hank set up that limping
  • treble roll behind me
  • my horn just growled and I
  • thought my heart would burst.
  • And Brad M. pressing with the
  • soft stick and Joe-Anne
  • singing low. Here we are now
  • in the White Tower, leaning
  • on one another, too tired
  • to go home. But don’t say a word,
  • don’t tell a soul, they wouldn’t
  • understand, they couldn’t, never
  • in a million years, how fine,
  • how magnificent we were
  • in that old club tonight.
  • February Morning
  • The old man takes a nap
  • too soon in the morning.
  • His coffee cup grows cold.
  • Outside the snow falls fast.
  • He’ll not go out today.
  • Others must clear the way
  • to the car and the shed.
  • Open upon his lap
  • lie the poems of Mr. Frost.
  • Somehow his eyes get lost
  • in the words and the snow,
  • somehow they go
  • backward against the words,
  • upward among the flakes
  • to the blankness of air,
  • the busy abundance there.
  • Should he take warning?
  • Mr. Frost went off, they say,
  • in bitterness and despair.
  • The old man stirs and wakes,
  • hearing the hungry birds,
  • nuthatch, sparrow, and jay
  • that clamor outside, unfed,
  • and words stir from his past
  • like this irritable sorrow
  • of jay, nuthatch, and sparrow,
  • wrath which no longer takes
  • shape of sentence or song.
  • He climbs the stairs to bed.
  • The snow falls all day long. 
Hayden Carruth

Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) was an American poet and literary critic. The son of a journalist, Carruth’s interest in the written word — especially poetry — began early in his life. He wrote more than 30 books of poetry and two poetry anthologies, including The Voice That Is Great Within Us, a comprehensive collection of modern poets. He served as editor-in-chief of Poetry from 1949 to 1950. In 1996, he won the National Book Award for his collection of verse, Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. His wide-ranging knowledge of poetry, jazz, and blues is reflected in the range of styles in which he composed. Like his friends and fellow poets, Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) and Donald Hall (1928-2018), Carruth often drew his imagery from the rural New England setting in which he lived.

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  • Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey
  • Scrambled eggs and whiskey
  • in the false-dawn light. Chicago,
  • a sweet town, bleak, God knows,
  • but sweet. Sometimes. And
  • weren’t we fine tonight?
  • When Hank set up that limping
  • treble roll behind me
  • my horn just growled and I
  • thought my heart would burst.
  • And Brad M. pressing with the
  • soft stick and Joe-Anne
  • singing low. Here we are now
  • in the White Tower, leaning
  • on one another, too tired
  • to go home. But don’t say a word,
  • don’t tell a soul, they wouldn’t
  • understand, they couldn’t, never
  • in a million years, how fine,
  • how magnificent we were
  • in that old club tonight.
  • February Morning
  • The old man takes a nap
  • too soon in the morning.
  • His coffee cup grows cold.
  • Outside the snow falls fast.
  • He’ll not go out today.
  • Others must clear the way
  • to the car and the shed.
  • Open upon his lap
  • lie the poems of Mr. Frost.
  • Somehow his eyes get lost
  • in the words and the snow,
  • somehow they go
  • backward against the words,
  • upward among the flakes
  • to the blankness of air,
  • the busy abundance there.
  • Should he take warning?
  • Mr. Frost went off, they say,
  • in bitterness and despair.
  • The old man stirs and wakes,
  • hearing the hungry birds,
  • nuthatch, sparrow, and jay
  • that clamor outside, unfed,
  • and words stir from his past
  • like this irritable sorrow
  • of jay, nuthatch, and sparrow,
  • wrath which no longer takes
  • shape of sentence or song.
  • He climbs the stairs to bed.
  • The snow falls all day long. 
Hayden Carruth

Hayden Carruth (1921-2008) was an American poet and literary critic. The son of a journalist, Carruth’s interest in the written word — especially poetry — began early in his life. He wrote more than 30 books of poetry and two poetry anthologies, including The Voice That Is Great Within Us, a comprehensive collection of modern poets. He served as editor-in-chief of Poetry from 1949 to 1950. In 1996, he won the National Book Award for his collection of verse, Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey. His wide-ranging knowledge of poetry, jazz, and blues is reflected in the range of styles in which he composed. Like his friends and fellow poets, Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) and Donald Hall (1928-2018), Carruth often drew his imagery from the rural New England setting in which he lived.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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