Thanks To Fourteen Hills Archives: Ray Bradbury’s “What I Do Is Me – For That I Came”

We’re here today to give thanks to cranberries, football, and poetry from great prose writers.

In the Fall of 1999, one of our editors commissioned a poem from the legendary science fiction short story writer and author of “Fahrenheit 451.” Proving to everyone that sometimes all you have to do is ask, Mr. Ray Bradbury sent Fourteen Hills a special poem from his collection. (Did you realize The Collected Poems of Ray Bradbury was published in 1982? Neither did we.)

And boy, was it special. “What I Do Is Me – For That I Came” is an ode to Gerard Manley Hopkins (the man who penned Pied Beauty – “Glory be to God for dappled things”).

From the first line to the last, Bradbury’s ode is a very … unusual … celebration of the Victorian poet. He seems to be commemorating the miraculous fusing of genes that created a literary genius 

Here’s the way the poem ends. See for yourself how even a master of words can occasionally fail to wow:

Ten thousand futures share your blood each instant;
Each drop of blood a cloned electric twin of you.
In merest wound on hand read replicas of what I planned and knew
Before your birth, then hid it in your heart.
No part of you that does not snug and hold and hide
The self that you will be if faith abide.
What you do is thee. For that I gave you birth.
Be that. So be the only you that’s truly you on Earth.

Dear Hopkins. Gentle Manley. Rare Gerard. Fine Name.
What we do is
us. Because of you. For that we came.

To read the full poem, and make your own judgments, visit Issue 6.1. And stay tuned as we continue to highlight forgotten gems from our literary magazine’s archives.

Happy thanksgiving, dear readers.

-Leanne M., Fourteen Hills staff

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