Wonder loaf

From: Elizabeth Bishop – A Miracle for Breakfast (2017), by Megan Marshall:

“A second gift of inspiration came ten days later – “A Little Miracle,” as Elizabeth titled her account of the incident in her Charles Street journal. She’d woken to find she’d forgotten to buy bread and had only a “dry crust” for breakfast. Resigning herself to orange juice and coffee and “no more,” she was startled by a ring of the doorbell and the subsequent appearance on the stairs of a “weary-looking woman,” a representative of Wonder Bread bakeries, which had begun marketing sliced bread nationally in the 1930s. “I don’t want to sell you anything – I want to give you something,” Elizabeth heard the woman call up the stairs, and she was soon the recipient of “a small box containing three slices…all fresh, a rye, a white, and whole-wheat,” as well as a “miniature” loaf unsliced. Instead of the dry crust, “I breakfasted on manna.”

Elizabeth’s composition of “A Miracle for Breakfast,” the sestina that had its origins in that morning’s surprise, was more characteristic of her halting progress than the swiftly composed “The Map.” Two summers would pass before she found the form and voice with which to realise the incident’s potential and enclosed the finished poem in a letter to Marianne Moore. During that time she’d given up her apartment on Charles Street for a year in Europe, spent mostly with Louise Crane.”

See below: follow arrow right for conclusion of poem.


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