American Culture · American Literature · Classic · Collection · Poet Laureate 1945 (United States) · Poetry

Louise Bogan

After The Persian

1

I have wept with the spring storm;
Burned with the brutal summer.
Now, hearing the wind and the twanging bow-strings
I know what winter brings.

The hunt sweeps out upon the plain
And the garden darkens.
They will bring the trophies home
To bleed and perish
Beside the trellis and the lattices,
Beside the fountain, still flinging diamond water,
Beside the pool
(Which is eight-sided, like my heart).

2

All has been translated into treasure:
Weightless as amber,
Translucent as the currant on the branch,
Dark as the rose’s thorn.

Where is the shimmer of evil?
This is the shell’s iridescence
And the wild bird’s wing.

3

Ignorant, I took up my burden in the wilderness.
Wise with great wisdom, I shall lay it down upon flowers.

4

Goodbye, goodbye!
There was so much to love, I could not love it all;
I could not love it enough.

Some things I overlooked, and some I could not find.
Let the crystal clasp them
When you drink your wine, in autumn.

Louise Bogan, The Blue Estuaries: Poems. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, October 31, 1995) Originally published November 1st 1974.

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