Friday December 24, 2004

July Garden 


I am your July garden 

I promise the sensuous richness 

of the not quite yet 

my soil does not forget 

its duty 

never duty free 

to just dream and doze 

fart and snore 

I’m not rough-dried 

nor ready-rolled 

I still dig deep 

with my pilgrim soul 

and will continue to thrive 

in this throwaway world 

where nature still holds sway 

for the natural world well knows 

there is really no “away.” 



Una Poema nos hace Ver por Prima Vez 


But one word misfit and it crumbles 

to bits of mortar and stone 

a poem the tight double helix 

of fiction and fact 

the doubling, the intertwining 

creates the art: 

I look for a new direction— 

not easy stuff 

loving words and having them 

return my affection 

is not enough; 

within my well of brass bright intention 

there is mirror and microscope 

miscarriage, invention 

soul within sentence 

syllables slowly stirring to life; 

by turns falling on the page 

in Persian patterns 

or gliding alone 

the rim of Saturn; 

all these conceits work just fine 

if a poem makes us see 

for the very first time. 



The Attic 


Moving heavy furniture 

in history’s attic— 

hearing the ormolu clock 

working the last nerve— 

feathery glass pierces my bones; 

Shiva dancing on the world 

and on my mind map; 

my ancestors: great-grandfather 

in a daguerreotype— 

cafe con leche good looks, 

says “this is more my world than yours”— 

grandmother in her wedding dress— 

her body motions me in all its movements; 

father in his uniform, one war older; 

mother, her mind filled with gold leaf, 

pushing life through a filter 

of artifice, a Duccio painting, 

A Sassetta altarpiece; 

good looks, breeding, 

proof again that life is a 

terrifying phenomenon 

of surface immediacy. 


—Phyllis Henry-Jordan