Flower Poem


Not these cut heads posed in a breathless room,
Their crisp flesh screaming while the cultured eye
Feeds grublike on the double martyrdom:
The insane virgins lusting as they die!
Connoisseurs breathe the rose’s agony;
Between their legs the hairy flowers in bloom

Thrill at the amorous comparison.
As the professor snips the richest bud
For his lapel, his scalpel of reason
Lies on the tray; the class yawns for its food—
Only transfusion of a poem’s blood
Can save them, bleeding from their civilization—

Not this cut flower but the entire plant
Achieves its miracle from soil and wind,
Rooted in dung, dirt, dead men’s bones; the scent
And glory not in themselves an end; the end:
Fresh seeding in some other dirty mind,
The ache of its mysterious event

As its frail root fractures the subsoil, licks
At the damp stone in passing, drives its life
Deeper to split the ancient bedded rocks
And penetrates the cave beneath, it curls
In horror from that roof. There in its grief
The subterranean river roars, the troll’s knife
Winks on his whetstone and the grinning girls
Sit spinning the bright fibre of their sex.

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