The Things by Donald Hall.
When I walk in my house I see pictures,
bought long ago, framed and hanging
— de Kooning, Arp, Laurencin, Henry Moore —
that I’ve cherished and stared at for years,
yet my eyes keep returning to the masters
of the trivial — a white stone perfectly round,
tiny lead models of baseball players, a cowbell,
a broken great-grandmother’s rocker,
a dead dog’s toy — valueless, unforgettable
detritus that my children will throw away
as I did my mother’s souvenirs of trips
with my dead father. Kodaks of kittens,
and bundles of cards from her mother Kate.
“The Things” by Donald Hall, from The Back Chamber. © Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011.
photo: Hugh Chatfield
Donald Hall was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1928
Billy Collins said of his poetry: “He writes with a kind of simplicity that succeeds in engaging the reader in the first few lines”
Donald Hall has published numerous books on poetry as well as books on baseball, the sculptor Henry Moore, the poet Marianne Moore, several childrens books, and autobiographical works, such as The Best Day The Worst Day: Life with Jane Kenyon (2005).
His many honors include two Guggenheim fellowships, the Poetry Society of America’s Robert Frost Silver medal, a Lifetime Achievement award from the New Hampshire Writers and Publisher Project, and the Ruth Lilly Prize for poetry.