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About this Poem 

"The poem takes a phrase ('C’est l’olive pâmée, et la flûte câline') from an obscene parody of Albert Mérat by Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine ('Sonnet du trou du cul') and develops it into an erotic poem. Now the body of the body becomes a sacred site, a Greek island."
Edward Hirsch

A Greek Island

Edward Hirsch, 1950

Traveling over your body I found

The failing olive and the cajoling flute,

Where I knelt down, as if in prayer,

And sucked a moist pit

From the marl

Of the earth in a sacred cove.


You gave yourself to the god who comes,

The liberator of the loud shout,

While I fell into a trance,

Blood on my lips,

And stumbled into a temple on top

Of a hill at the bottom of the sky.

Copyright © 2013 by Edward Hirsch. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Edward Hirsch. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Edward Hirsch

Edward Hirsch

Born in Chicago on January 20, 1950, Edward Hirsch is a poet and literary advocate. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (Knopf, 1986), received the National Book Critics Circle Award

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Tonight when I knelt down next to our cat, Zooey, 
And put my fingers into her clean cat's mouth, 
And rubbed her swollen belly that will never know kittens, 
And watched her wriggle onto her side, pawing the air, 
And listened to her solemn little squeals of delight, 
I was thinking about the poet, Christopher
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Today I am pulling on a green wool sweater 
and walking across the park in a dusky snowfall. 

The trees stand like twenty-seven prophets in a field, 
each a station in a pilgrimage—silent, pondering. 

Blue flakes of light falling across their bodies 
are the ciphers of a secret, an occultation. 

I will