TALL FLOWERS HOME
I haven’t had a flower
since I bought the vase,
which is to say,
it never comes out even—
none of it:
the want—the have,
the plan—the fate,
the energy—the chore.
You used to bring
tall flowers home
the mayonnaise jar.
That was a need—
That’s how it goes.
I haven’t had a flower
since I bought the vase.
(first pub. in Portland Oregonian, 1971)
THIS SIMILE… THESE SIMILES…
Propped Against Stripped Wall :
Ruin against ruin ,
what will survive here ,
among words ,
broken into sentences
thrown against walls in little shouts
and whimperings . . .
how long will it take—life against death
—survival against destruction ?
Weeds or flowers in their own struggles
and surrender . . . Oh, that I can lose myself .
Oh, that I should
turn against myself like that—
in such confusion and desire—
in all the ways of self-destruction.
Who will help me . . . ?
Here we are, hidden in white,
a surrender of mercy and fear—
that we will be found
trembling beyond description—
our own cries for help
that even we ignore .
It is the whole of it—
the entire arrangement : words
on white page, the description
struggling to be known by any other way .
sweet mouths of flowers
sweet eyes of flowers
innocent and loved
entering and entering
this harsh existence
of life and its welcome
oh, and oh, how fragile
Each sad little death bears such burdens
of regret. How can we bear them all ?
They haunt us : each fallen bird and
dying flower , given this small tribute of words
the moiré of darkness,
lying in wait .
Someone I Loved :
Whose face is this ,
staring out of the darkness—
whose memoried face , eyes hidden,
mouth in a tight silence—
still not revealed through this dim memory ?
is to go where . . . ?
It is you—
so full of shreds
and blurs—its dark receding .
to and away
from the edges and the center,
paths, lined with flowers,
garden full of old thoughts,
all the paths,
followed by love,
never contemplate the
untaken with the taken,
we are forever wandering thus,
full of impulse
the garden is small,
directional and random
we dare-not pass the edges:
PASTORAL WITH YELLOW FLOWERS
She wanders, indistinct, among the flowers,
bending toward a thin-stemmed yellow bloom.
To pluck or leave it there? She hesitates—
deciding yes or no, and looking down.
Her feet are mired in shadows like the hours;
Behind her, the old sea starts to change its colors,
and soon will come the ever-changing moon.
But there is one bright flower left to beckon.
It gathers in the last light of the day.
The sea behind her sighs and churns its colors.
The sky drops down and sends the light away.
The flowers love her best when they are
dying—French flowers made of red silk
in a satin bedroom of a dark lady sighing
from her crushed bed of shadows. The
wall hears and moves in—the other wall,
too—until the window, with its strange old
light, holds them away from each other and
lets the flowers die. It is a sadness made
of red silk—dusty with dying—and the dark
lady weeping to herself in the fascinated
mirror of the child who is hiding in this poem,
day-dreaming this story about the red flowers.
in alley light, how
their delicate colors
intensify to an eeriness
from tenuous window light—
how they envy themselves . . .
the loneliness of alleys, except for
the flowers by the end house
where the sidewalk begins,
how they lean, glowing
back toward the one
—Medusa, with thanks to Joyce Odam for today's poetic delights! Super Bowl, Olympics—sports are getting all the headlines these days, so write about 'em—our new Seed of the Week is My Favorite Sport! If figure skating can be a sport, why not poetry? Cooking? Needlepoint? Sex? You decide what is sporting and tell us about it, then send your winners to firstname.lastname@example.org/. Or make up your own SOW. No deadlines around here, though—the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!