if we weren't made of soot—which we highly suspected/respected in her garden—she had no garden we did not love her—we did not let her picture fall from our wall forgive & foment—no one kissed me where like bad jewels—good black dirt what song can't do & does—magnificent thumper in the wild 'the secret blackness of milk'—'sordid intimacy of the abyss' when it became a corolla—flickers you are like an angel—yelling for attention—still more still my lamentation is as perfect—an almond a shell her eyes an altitude—amnesic lover gathered her skirts—to the blond chapel altarbirds follow us—herehere herehere
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Poems about Gardens
They are everywhere--those sunflowers with the coal heart center. They riot without speaking, huge, wet mouths caught at half-gasp, half-kiss. Flowers she promises I’ll grow into, sweet gardener, long luminous braids I’d climb like ladders, freckles scattered across our shoulders in a spell of pollen. She’s sleeping there--on that table with its veneer slick as a glass coffin. She’s fed us fiddleheads, the tine fists of Brussels sprouts, cupcakes, even the broken song of the deer’s neck. Singing. Flowers everywhere. In my bedroom chaste daisies and the vigilance of chrysanthemums. Dirt under my nails, pressing my cheek to the shag rug with its million fingers. You could lose anything: a tooth, Barbie’s shoe, this prayer. She loves me. She loves me not. I stare at my reflection, a posy of wishes. Morning glory, nightshade, tulip, rhododendron. In this poem I would be the Wicked Witch and she Snow White. Waiting. My father talks to me about their lovemaking. My mouth empty as a lily. I try to remember the diagram. Which is the pistil? Which is the stamen? Roads of desire circle our house: Lost Nation Severance, Poor Farm. Branches catch the wings of my nightgown. There is a crow and the smell of blackberries.
They that have power to hurt and will do none That do not do the thing they most do show, Who, moving others, are themselves as stone, Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow; They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces And husband nature’s riches from expense; They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others but stewards of their excellence. The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet, Though to itself it only live and die, But if that flower with base infection meet, The basest weed outbraves his dignity: For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
My house is torn down-- Plaster sifting, the pillars broken, Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer. The whole roof has fallen On the hall and the kitchen The bedrooms, the parlor. They are trampling the garden-- My mother's lilac, my father's grapevine, The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses. Hot asphalt goes down Over the torn stems, and hardens. What will they do in springtime Those bulbs and stems groping upward That drown in earth under the paving, Thick with sap, pale in the dark As they try the unrolling of green. May they double themselves Pushing together up to the sunlight, May they break through the seal stretched above them Open and flower and cry we are living.
Ah in the thunder air how still the trees are! And the lime-tree, lovely and tall, every leaf silent hardly looses even a last breath of perfume. And the ghostly, creamy coloured little tree of leaves white, ivory white among the rambling greens how evanescent, variegated elder, she hesitates on the green grass as if, in another moment, she would disappear with all her grace of foam! And the larch that is only a column, it goes up too tall to see: and the balsam-pines that are blue with the grey-blue blueness of things from the sea, and the young copper beech, its leaves red-rosy at the ends how still they are together, they stand so still in the thunder air, all strangers to one another as the green grass glows upwards, strangers in the silent garden. Lichtental
Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle, lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold, outside reclaiming inside as its home. Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur, a cup—a grail brimmed with delirium and humbling boredom both. I was a boy, I thought I'd always be a boy, pell—mell, mean, and gaily murderous one moment as I decapitated daises with a stick, then overcome with summer's opium, numb—slumberous. I thought I'd always be a boy, each day its own millennium, each one thousand years of daylight ending in the night watch, summer's pervigilium, which I could never keep because by sunset I was an old man. I was Methuselah, the oldest man in the holy book. I drowsed. I nodded, slept—and without my watching, the world, whose permanence I doubted, returned again, bluebell and blue jay, speedwell and cardinal still there when the light swept back, and so was I, which I had also doubted. I understood with horror then with joy, dubious and luminous joy: it simply spins. It doesn't need my feet to make it turn. It doesn't even need my eyes to watch it, and I, though a latecomer to its surface, I'd be leaving early. It was my duty to stay awake and sing if I could keep my mind on singing, not extinction, as blurred green summer, lifted to its apex, succumbed to gravity and fell to autumn, Ilium, and ashes. In joy we are our own uncomprehending mourners, and more than joy I longed for understanding and more than understanding I longed for joy.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
Now I rest my head on the satyr's carved chest, The hollow where the heart would have been, if sandstone Had a heart, if a headless goat man could have a heart. His neck rises to a dull point, points upward To something long gone, elusive, and at his feet The small flowers swarm, earnest and sweet, a clamor Of white, a clamor of blue, and black the sweating soil They breed in...If I sit without moving, how quickly Things change, birds turning tricks in the trees, Colorless birds and those with color, the wind fingering The twigs, and the furred creatures doing whatever Furred creatures do. So, and so. There is the smell of fruit And the smell of wet coins. There is the sound of a bird Crying, and the sound of water that does not move... If I pick the dead iris? If I wave it above me Like a flag, a blazoned flag? My fanfare? Little fare with which I buy my way, making things brave? The way Now I bend over and with my foot turn up a stone, And there they are: the armies of pale creatures who Without cease or doubt sew the sweet sad earth.
19 This is the bird hour, peony blossoms falling bigger than wren hearts On the cutting border's railroad ties, Sparrows and other feathery things Homing from one hedge to the next, late May, gnat-floating evening. Is love stronger than unlove? Only the unloved know. And the mockingbird, whose heart is cloned and colorless. And who's this tiny chirper, lost in the loose leaves of the weeping cherry tree? His song is not more than three feet off the ground, and singular, And going nowhere. Listen. It sounds a lot like you, hermane. It sounds like me.
1 When the moon appears and a few wind-stricken barns stand out in the low-domed hills and shine with a light that is veiled and dust-filled and that floats upon the fields, my mother, with her hair in a bun, her face in shadow, and the smoke from her cigarette coiling close to the faint yellow sheen of her dress, stands near the house and watches the seepage of late light down through the sedges, the last gray islands of cloud taken from view, and the wind ruffling the moon's ash-colored coat on the black bay. 2 Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send small carpets of lampglow into the haze and the bay will begin its loud heaving and the pines, frayed finials climbing the hill, will seem to graze the dim cinders of heaven. And my mother will stare into the starlanes, the endless tunnels of nothing, and as she gazes, under the hour's spell, she will think how we yield each night to the soundless storms of decay that tear at the folding flesh, and she will not know why she is here or what she is prisoner of if not the conditions of love that brought her to this. 3 My mother will go indoors and the fields, the bare stones will drift in peace, small creatures -- the mouse and the swift -- will sleep at opposite ends of the house. Only the cricket will be up, repeating its one shrill note to the rotten boards of the porch, to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark, to the sea that keeps to itself. Why should my mother awake? The earth is not yet a garden about to be turned. The stars are not yet bells that ring at night for the lost. It is much too late.
Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, Alone and palely loitering; The sedge is withered from the lake, And no birds sing. Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight, So haggard and so woe-begone? The squirrel's granary is full, And the harvest's done. I see a lilly on thy brow, With anguish moist and fever dew; And on thy cheek a fading rose Fast withereth too. I met a lady in the meads Full beautiful, a faery's child; Her hair was long, her foot was light, And her eyes were wild. I set her on my pacing steed, And nothing else saw all day long; For sideways would she lean, and sing A faery's song. I made a garland for her head, And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; She looked at me as she did love, And made sweet moan. She found me roots of relish sweet, And honey wild, and manna dew; And sure in language strange she said, I love thee true. She took me to her elfin grot, And there she gazed and sighed deep, And there I shut her wild sad eyes— So kissed to sleep. And there we slumbered on the moss, And there I dreamed, ah woe betide, The latest dream I ever dreamed On the cold hill side. I saw pale kings, and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; Who cried—"La belle Dame sans merci Hath thee in thrall!" I saw their starved lips in the gloam With horrid warning gaped wide, And I awoke, and found me here On the cold hill side. And this is why I sojourn here Alone and palely loitering, Though the sedge is withered from the lake, And no birds sing.
There is nothing to save, now all is lost, but a tiny core of stillness in the heart like the eye of a violet.