Mark Strand & William Bailey

March 25, 2020

Mark Strand and William Bailey, Those Last Moments, lithograph, 2008

Today’s respite from the storm: a poem by Yaddo artist Mark Strand (a guest in 1972 and 1973) is paired with a lithograph by his friend, the renowned American painter (and longtime Yaddo board member) William Bailey.


We were in another country and talked of the war,

Which we thought would never end, and of our leaders

Who did nothing, when we felt the slow encroachment

Of the hour, and imagined people up and down the coast

Becoming drowsy and drifting off towards sleep, then the wind

Picked-up and rain pelted the slate roof and seaward

Windows, and flattened the wild grass and thistles.

Suddenly, the rain stopped, and for a while the only sound

Was the muffled thrust of waves against the shore.

I sat at the table, finishing my drink, and turned

And saw you standing in front of the hallway mirror

As if searching for someone no longer there. You lowered

One shoulder, then the other, letting the blue and violet

Cotton dress slip to the floor. I watched as the shadow

Of night rounded the pale folds of your flesh. And what

Remained of the day—a thin strip of light in the west—

Slid quietly into the sea, and the world of which

We had spoken, dangerous still, seemed out of reach.

—Mark Strand