Friday, April 27, 2007

Poem for the Day

This is from Gerald Stern's Bread Without Sugar.

The First Lewd Offering

I am one of the squirrels--I have a dogwood
in my breast pocket, I am smitten, I squeeze
the four red corners back together, I make
a purse to hold the seeds again. I tried
to pluck the flower, to snap it off, but there was
rage in the branches, there was glue, I had to
pull the wood loose, there is such brute strength
in a blossom. I had no idea the mouth
was in those leaves or there was a yellow brain
half buried under ground. I walk with greed
up every mountain, there is always a mark
of courtesy between us, I could turn it
to love if I wanted, the ground is so soft, the branches
are all so careful. There were thorns getting here,
there was water--at first--up to my ankles,
there was a wire fence. I lean my head
against a hemlock. There is no loyalty.
The honeysuckle will come, then the catalpa.
I will drink the nectar, I will study
the magic prints, one out of four is crimson--
it is the blood, I guess. If there was a tree
that kept me sane I know it was that one; if there
was a life it was that life. I first got the blossoms
in a brown envelope, the blossoms were brown--
and dry--I put them on my dashboard; that was
the first lewd offering; I was forgiven.

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