Forced Bloom

David Baker

 
1.
Such pleasure one needs to make for oneself.
She has snipped the paltry forsythia
to force the bloom, has cut each stem on
the slant and sprinkled brown sugar in a vase,
so the wintered reeds will take their water.
It hurts her to do this but she does it.
When are we most ourselves, and when the least?
Last night, the man in the recessed doorway,
homeless or searching for something, or sought—
all he needed was one hand and quiet.
The city around him was one small room.
He leaned into the dark portal, gray
shade in a door, a shadow of himself.
His eyes were closed. His rhythm became him.
So we have shut our eyes, as dead or as
other, and held the thought of another
whose pleasure is need, face over a face ...
2.
It hurts her to use her hands, to hold
a cup or bud or touch a thing. The doctors
have turned her burning hands in their hands.
The tests have shown a problem, but no cause,
a neuropathology of mere touch.
We have all made love in the dark, small room
of such need, without shame, to our comfort,
our compulsion. I know I have. She has.
We have held or helped each other, sometimes
watching from the doorway of a warm house
where candletips of new growth light the walls,
the city in likeness beyond, our hands
on the swollen damp branch or bud or cup.
Sometimes we are most ourselves when we are
least, or hurt, or lost, face over a face—.
You have, too. It's your secret, your delight.
You smell the wild scent all day on your hand.
 
From Changeable Thunder by David Baker. Copyright © 2001 by David Baker. Appears with permission of the University of Arkansas Press. All rights reserved.

Poems by This Author

Belong To by David Baker
See the pair of us
Patriotics by David Baker
Yesterday a little girl got slapped to death by her daddy,
The City of God by David Baker
Now we knelt beside
The Feast by David Baker
The moon tonight is


Further Reading

Poems about Flowers
Littlefoot, 19, [This is the bird hour]
by Charles Wright
Still Another Day: I
by Pablo Neruda
A January Dandelion
by George Marion McClellan
A Red, Red Rose
by Robert Burns
a woman had placed
by Anne Blonstein
Advice to a Prophet
by Richard Wilbur
Ah! Sunflower
by William Blake
Asphodel, That Greeny Flower [excerpt]
by William Carlos Williams
Astigmatism
by Amy Lowell
At Baia
by H. D.
Blur
by Andrew Hudgins
Botanica
by Eve Alexandra
Bulb Planting Time
by Edgar Guest
Come Slowly—Eden (211)
by Emily Dickinson
Epitaph X
by Thomas Heise
Erotic Energy
by Chase Twichell
Evening Primrose
by Amy Greacen
Far and Away [excerpt]
by Fanny Howe
Follies
by Carl Sandburg
Four Poems for Robin
by Gary Snyder
From Blossoms
by Li-Young Lee
Girl
by Eve Alexandra
Herb Garden
by Timothy Steele
In April
by James Hearst
Iris
by David St. John
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
by John Keats
La Chalupa, the Boat
by Jean Valentine
Last Supper
by Charles Wright
Little Lion Face
by May Swenson
Meister Eckhart's Sermon on Flowers and the Philosopher's Reply
by J. Michael Martinez
Nothing But Death
by Pablo Neruda
Nothing Stays Put
by Amy Clampitt
Nothing to Save
by D. H. Lawrence
Ode to a Flower in Casarsa
by Pier Paolo Pasolini
On Arranging a Bowl of Violets
by Grace Hazard Conkling
One Flower
by Jack Kerouac
Permanence
by Denise Duhamel
Poem
by John Gray
Poppies on the Wheat
by Helen Hunt Jackson
Practice
by Ellen Bryant Voigt
Queen-Anne's-Lace
by William Carlos Williams
Sea Rose
by H. D.
See How the Roses Burn!
by Hafiz
Shake the Superflux!
by David Lehman
Solstice
by Ellen Dudley
Songs of a Girl
by Mary Carolyn Davies
Sonnet 2
by Gwendolyn Bennett
Taken Up
by Charles Martin
The Dandelion
by Vachel Lindsay
The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
by Dylan Thomas
The Gardenia
by Cornelius Eady
The Guarded Wound
by Adelaide Crapsey
The Métier of Blossoming
by Denise Levertov
The Mountain Cemetery
by Edgar Bowers
The Orchid Flower
by Sam Hamill
The Picture of Little T. C. in a Prospect of Flowers
by Andrew Marvell
The Satyr's Heart
by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
The Violet
by Jane Taylor
The White Rose
by John Boyle O'Reilly
The Wild Honeysuckle
by Philip Freneau
To Dorothy
by Marvin Bell
To Earthward
by Robert Frost
To My Mother Waiting on 10/01/54
by Teresa Carson
Why Regret?
by Galway Kinnell
Wildflower
by Stanley Plumly
Wildwood Flower
by Kathryn Stripling Byer
Without a Philosophy
by Elizabeth Morgan