01 March 2012

a clementine of inclement climate (two poems paired almost arbitrarily)


A clementine
Of inclement climate
Grows tart.

A crocus
Too stoic to open,

Like an oyster
That cloisters a spoil of pearls,

The heart that’s had
Stays shut.

Jill Alexander Essbaum
Source: Poetry (December 2009).

Flowering Vetch

Each of the tragedies can be read
as the tale of a single ripening self,
every character part of one soul.
The comedies can be included in this as well.
Often the flaw is a flaw of self-knowledge;
sometimes greed. For this reason
the comic glint of a school of herring leads to no plot line,
we cannot imagine a tragedy of donkeys or bees.
Before the ordinary realities, ordinary failures:
hunger, coldness, anger, longing, heat.
Yet one day, a thought as small as a vetch flower opens.
After, no longer minding the minor and almost wordless role,
playing the messenger given the letter
everyone knows will arrive too late or ruined by water.
To have stopped by the fig and eaten was not an error, then,
but the reason for going.

Jane Hirshfield

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