by Dorothea Tanning

On one of those birthdays of which I've had so many
I was walking home through the park from a party,

pleased that I'd resisted mentioning the birthday—
why hear congratulations for doing nothing but live?

The birthday was my secret with myself and gave me,
walking under all those trees, such a strong feeling of

satisfaction that everything else fell away: party sounds,
the hostess who stared and as suddenly disappeared

on seeing her husband walk in with a young(er ) friend;
another guest examining garment labels in the room

where I went to leave my jacket; one of two waiters
balancing a trayful of foot-high champagne glasses;

a bee-like buzz of voices I ought to have enjoyed
but heard as foreign babble, so remote it was from

a birthday, so empty of import nothing would remain.
I got my jacket, waved from the hall, pressed Down.

In summer the park, for an hour or so before night,
is at its greenest, a whole implicit proposition

of green leaves, a triumph of leaves enfolding me
that day in a green intimacy so trustworthy I told

them my secret: "It's my birthday," I said out loud
before turning away to cross the avenue.

please note: art by Martin Beek on flickr


  1. Oh, I love that you kept your birthday a secret and chose a walk in the beautiful park instead of staying at the superficial party!

  2. Lovely poem; is it your birthday too?

  3. Bon anniversaire alors!

    Terrific poem./

  4. That's such a perfect painting to pair with the poem. Lovely.

  5. Awesome poem! Happy birthday :D

  6. Is your secret out? If so, happy, happy birthday!

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. No, my birthday's not till next week, but thanks for the well wishes!! I fell across this poem again recently and really like its quiet feel and serenity. And that painting is gorgeous--I would love to see it in person.
    PS. Had to delete the above comment as I'm watching PSYCH and every other word was a typo:>)

  9. I really liked both the poem and the painting... good connection of the two and best wishes for your natal day ---

  10. August, 25th was Dorothea Tannings 100 birthday, best wishes to that great artist – and best wishes to your upcoming special day!


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