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"
(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.