It's Elizabeth Bishop's birthday, arguably my favorite poet ever. It's also an achingly gorgeous day here in Portland.
My bunker-apartment is an empty shell, dusty and barren-white, without the customary clippings, colors and maps all over the walls. Most of my books and papers are out, and all but a handful of clothes. My kitchen, however, is still largely intact, the last portion of this apartment to be evacuated. Also, my ominous plywood/cinderblock desk has yet to be dismantled. It's glowering at me.
I want to spend the day making up personages for my own Writer's Almanac, where everyone whose birthdays I'm observing aren't real.
"It's the birthday of St. Aloysius of Rennes, the patron saint of hiccups. It is said that when he was carried off to be martyred by Vikings, St. Aloysius was so nervous that he began hiccupping. His hiccups were so persistently infectious that the entire longship of Vikings, and the rest of their captives, all began hiccupping during the voyage to Norway. When they finally decided to turn the ship around, everyone's hiccups miraculously stopped. The captain of the ship, St. Sven of Ulf, converted to Christianity on the spot. The entire ship was then swallowed by an exceptionally large narwhal, the Holy Leviathan of Sts Aloysius and Sven.
St. Aloysius who wrote,
'Preserve us, O Lord, from sore throats, itchy burlap and exceptionally large, hungry narwhals.'"