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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eavan Boland
Eavan Boland
Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1944. Her father...
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FURTHER READING
Poems about Earth
Clonazepam
by Donald Dunbar
Earth Took of Earth
by Anonymous, read by Galway Kinnell
Earth Your Dancing Place
by May Swenson
Elegy in Limestone
by CJ Evans
Fiddler Jones
by Edgar Lee Masters
Gospel
by Philip Levine
Hamatreya
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
He Stood
by Aaron Shurin
Prologue of the Earthly Paradise
by William Morris
Sympathy
by Edith Franklin Wyatt
the earth is a living thing
by Lucille Clifton
The Earth Opens and Welcomes You
by Abdellatif Laâbi
To Earthward
by Robert Frost
[Toward the empty earth]
by Osip Mandelstam, read by Jean Valentine
Poems About the Natural World
A Windflower
by Lizette Woodworth Reese
And the Intrepid Anthurium
by Pura López-Colomé
Atavism
by Elinor Wylie
Austerity
by Janet Loxley Lewis
Belong To
by David Baker
Butterfly Catcher
by Tina Cane
Crossings
by Ravi Shankar
Elders
by Louise Bogan
Escape
by Elinor Wylie
Farewell
by John Clare
February: The Boy Breughel
by Norman Dubie
Field
by Erin Belieu
Fish Fucking
by Michael Blumenthal
For-The-Spirits-Who-Have-Rounded-The-Bend IIVAQSAAT
by dg nanouk okpik
Four Poems for Robin
by Gary Snyder
God's World
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
Imaginary June
by C. D. Wright
In a Blue Wood
by Richard Levine
In Michael Robins’s class minus one
by Bob Hicok
Kentucky River Junction
by Wendell Berry
maggie and milly and molly and may
by E. E. Cummings
Making It Up as You Go Along
by Bin Ramke
Monody to the Sound of Zithers
by Kay Boyle
Naskeag
by Alfred Corn
October (section I)
by Louise Glück
Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood
by William Wordsworth
Of Many Worlds in This World
by Margaret Cavendish
Pastoral
by Jennifer Chang
Pied Beauty
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Poppies on the Wheat
by Helen Hunt Jackson
Prairie Spring
by Willa Cather
Russian Birch
by Nathaniel Bellows
Scandal
by Lola Ridge
Song of Nature
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sonnet
by Bill Knott
Spontaneous Me
by Walt Whitman
Tanka
by Sadakichi Hartmann
The Clouded Morning
by Jones Very
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
The Gladness of Nature
by William Cullen Bryant
The Leaves
by Deborah Digges
The Life So Short...
by Eamon Grennan
The Noble Nature
by Ben Jonson
The Parallel Cathedral
by Tom Sleigh
The River-Merchant's Wife: A Letter
by Ezra Pound
The Wind and the Moon
by George Macdonald
There may be chaos still around the world
by George Santayana
Trees
by Joyce Kilmer
Two Butterflies went out at Noon— (533)
by Emily Dickinson
Vantage
by Alan Shapiro
Vision
by Robert Penn Warren
What's the railroad to me?
by Henry David Thoreau
Winter Morning
by William Jay Smith
Work Without Hope
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Poems about Objects
Tender Buttons [Objects]
by Gertrude Stein
A blurry photograph
by Martha Ronk
Before You Came
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Blue Hanuman
by Joan Larkin
Compendium of Lost Objects
by Nicole Cooley
No mode of excitement is absolutely colorless
by Mónica de la Torre
Orkney Interior
by Ian Hamilton Finlay
Postcards
by E. Ethelbert Miller
Private Beach
by Jane Kenyon
The Hammers
by Jericho Brown
The Things
by Donald Hall
What the Angels Left
by Marie Howe
White Box (notes)
by Laura Mullen
Woman in Front of Poster of Herself
by Alice Notley
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Amethyst Beads

 
by Eavan Boland

And when I take them out of
the cherrywood box these beads are
the colour of dog-violets in shadow. Then
at the well of the throat where
tears start
they darken. Now I wear at my neck an old stress
of crystal: an impression of earthly housekeeping.
A mysterious brightness
made underground where there is no sun
only stories of a strayed child and her mother bargaining
with a sullen king. Promising and arguing: 
what she can keep, what she can let him have. Shadows 
and the season violets start up in are part of 
the settlement. Stolen from such a place
these beads cannot be anything 
but wise to the healing arts of compromise,
of survival. And when I wear them it is almost
as if my skin was taking into itself
a medicine of light. Something like the old simples.
Rosemary, say, or tansy.
Or camomile which they kept
to cool fever. Which they once used to soothe a child
tossing from side to side, beads of sweat catching 
and holding a gleam from the vigil lamp. 
A child crying out in her sleep
Wait for me. Don’t leave me here.
Who will never remember this.
Who will never remember this. 
About this poem:
"I owned these beads once. I was always struck by how dark they were at first and then how quickly they took in light. Amethyst is a quartz and quartzes have such a mysterious existence on this planet, seamed into rocks and even taking in some radiation as they form. Thinking about that, it somehow didn't seem too much of a stretch to migrate from the world to the underworld here."

—Eavan Boland






Copyright © 2013 by Eavan Boland. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 24, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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