Thursday, October 13, 2011

Autumn milkweed

The summer ends
in threads of silver
as well as
bursts of gold—
an invitation to the
delicacy and grace
of winter

The image above was created from a photograph of a milkweed pod taken at Battis Farm in Amesbury, MA. And here are some poems about milkweed to celebrate the season:

by Philip Levine

Remember how unimportant
they seemed, growing loosely
in the open fields we crossed
on the way to school. We
would carve wooden swords
and slash at the luscious trunks
until the white milk started
and then flowed. Then we'd
go on to the long day
after day of the History of History
or the tables of numbers and order
as the clock slowly paid
out the moments. The windows
went dark first with rain
and then snow, and then the days,
then the years ran together and not
one mattered more than
another, and not one mattered.

Two days ago I walked
the empty woods, bent over,
crunching through oak leaves,
asking myself questions
without answers. From somewhere
a froth of seeds drifted by touched
with gold in the last light
of a lost day, going with
the wind as they always did.

Mary Oliver

The milkweed now with their many pods are standing
like a country of dry women.
The wind lifts their flat leaves and drops them.
This is not kind, but they retain a certain crisp glamour;
moreover, it’s easy to believe
each one was once young and delicate, also
frightened; also capable
of a certain amount of rough joy.
I wish you would walk with me out into the world.
I wish you could see what has to happen, how
each one crackles like a blessing
over its thin children as they rush away.

by James Wright

While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself,
I must have looked a long time
Down the corn rows, beyond grass,
The small house,
White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn.
I look down now. It is all changed.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
Loving me in secret.
It is here. At a touch of my hand,
The air fills with delicate creatures
From the other world.

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