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Yellow Tulips -- James Fenton

Guest poem submitted by Aseem Kaul:
(Poem #1756) Yellow Tulips
 Looking into the vase, into the calyx, into the water drop,
 Looking into the throat of the flower, at the pollen stain,
 I can see the ambush love sprung once in the summery wood.
 I can see the casualties where they lay, till they set forth again.

 I can see the lips, parted first in surprise, parted in desire,
 Smile now as silence falls on the yellow-dappled ride
 For each thinks the other can hear each receding thought
 On each receding tide.

 They have come out of the wood now. They are skirting the fields
 Between the tall wheat and the hedge, on the unploughed strips,
 And they believe anyone who saw them would know
 Every secret of their limbs and lips,

 As if, like creatures of legend, they had come down out of the mist
 Back to their native city, and stood in the square.
 And they were seen to be marked at the throat with a certain sign
 Whose meaning all could share.

 *******

 These flowers came from a shop. Really they looked nothing much
 Till they opened as if in surprise at the heat of this hotel.
 Then the surprise turned to a shout, and the girl said, "Shall I chuck them
now
 Or give them one more day? They've not lasted so well."

 "Oh give them one more day. They've lasted well enough.
 They lasted as love lasts, which is longer than most maintain.
 Look at the sign it has left here at the throat of the flower
 And on your tablecloth - look at the pollen stain"
-- James Fenton
(From the August 11 issue of the New York Review of Books)

I like this poem. I like the contrast between the grand, mythic images
surrounding the flowers in the forest and the more mundane concerns of the
shop flowers. I love the first two stanzas and the way they paint so visual
a picture of the flowers in question. And I like the way that Fenton manages
to breathe life into a tired metaphor in the last few stanzas - that
beautiful line about "they've lasted as love lasts, which is longer than
most maintain".

Fenton - who is not unrepresented on Minstrels - is IMHO one of the better
poets writing today, and this poem, while far from being oneof his best
works, is both intelligent and moving enough to prove it.

Aseem.

45 comments: ( or Leave a comment )

kamagra said...

I really like the phrase the James Fenton said "The writing of a poem is like a child throwing stones into a mineshaft. You compose first, then you listen for the reverberation." I think that this poem is really good!22dd

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