Thursday, August 9, 2012



I remember walking in a field,

so young the black-eyed Susans stared

me in the face, the air so bright

that every flick of grass was clear

and leaves seemed magnified. The flowers

stood tall and swayed — the daisies, Queen

Anne's lace, the Susans, yarrow — thrilled

the day and kept me company;

all level as a yard of water,

and made me feel as one of their

exploding fierce community.


First the tail begins to stiffen

at its root. The thick base rears and

a warp runs out the length of the

appendage to the dirty hank

and the whole is lifted slightly

to the side, exposing the gray

puckered pussy. But it's how the

back arches up that startles, how

she humps as though bracing against

and backing into something hard,

pressing to release a valve or

tip a cask open. And the stream

that starts comes as though from a hose

not round but flattened by her lips.

Shot on the pasture dirt, the jet

wears out a basin that overflows

into tracks and sprays gold mist on

hooves and grass, shivering rainbows.

When the blast lessens and scalds down

to tatters and drips and is done,

she whips the tail a few times to

knock off the last drops and walks on

to graze. The puddle glistens like

gold wine in the sun, and crackles

as it soaks into the splash track.

The grass sparkles many colors

where the growth will be less for the

libation a while, and then more.


There is a shade of purple in

this flower near summer's end that makes

you proud to be alive in such

a world, and thrilled to know the gift

of sight. It seems a color sent

from memory or dream. In fields,

along old trails, at pasture edge,

the ironweed bares its vivid tint,

profoundest violet, a note

from farthest star and deepest time,

the glow of sacred royalty

and timbre of eternity

right here beside a dried-up stream.


Robert Morgan

Penguin Books, 2011

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