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Best Famous Carolyn Kizer Poems

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by Carolyn Kizer | |

Poets Household

 1

The stout poet tiptoes
On the lawn.
Surprisingly limber In his thick sweater Like a middle-age burglar.
Is the young robin injured? 2 She bends to feed the geese Revealing the neck’s white curve Below her curled hair.
Her husband seems not to watch, But she shimmers in his poem.
3 A hush is on the house, The only noise, a fern, Rustling in a vase.
On the porch, the fierce poet Is chanting words to himself.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

A Song for Muriel

 No-one explains me because
There is nothing to explain.
It's all right here Very clear.
O for my reputations sake To be difficult and opaque! No-one explains me because Though myopic, I see plain.
I just put it down With a leer and a frown.
.
.
Why does it make you sweat? Is this the thanks I get? No-one explains me because There are tears in my bawdy song.
Once I am dead Something will be said.
How nice I won't be here To see how they get it wrong.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

Cultural Evolution

 When from his cave, young Mao in his youthful mind
A work to renew old China first designed,
Then he alone interpreted the law,
and from tradtional fountains scorned to draw:
But when to examine every part he came,
Marx and Confucius turned out much the same.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

Days of 1986

 He was believed by his peers to be an important poet,
But his erotic obsession, condemned and strictly forbidden,
Compromised his standing, and led to his ruin.
Over sixty, and a father many times over, The objects of his attention grew younger and younger: He tried to corrupt the sons of his dearest friends; He pressed on them drinks and drugs, And of course he was caught and publicly shamed.
Was his death a suicide? No one is sure.
But that’s not the whole story; it’s too sordid to tell.
Besides, the memory of his poems deserves better.
Though we were unable to look at them for a time His poems survive his death.
There he appears as his finest self: Attractive, scholarly, dedicated to love.
At last we can read him again, putting aside The brute facts of his outer life, And rejoice at the inner voice, so lofty and pure.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

On a Line From Valery (Gulf War)

 Tout le ciel vert se meurt
Le dernier arbre brûle.
The whole green sky is dying.
The last tree flares With a great burst of supernatural rose Under a canopy of poisonous airs.
Could we imagine our return to prayers To end in time before time's final throes, The green sky dying as the last tree flares? But we were young in judgment, gray in hairs Who could make peace; but it was war we chose, To spread its canopy of poisoning airs.
Not all our children's pleas and women's stares Could steer us from this Hell.
And now God knows His whole green sky is dying as it flares.
Our crops of wheat have turned to fields of tares.
This dreadful century staggers to its close And the sky dies for us, its poisoned heirs.
All rain was dust.
Its granules were our cares.
Throats burst as everywhere winter arose To dye the dead sky green.
The last tree bears Within its canopy ripe poisoned pears.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

On a Line from Valéry (The Gulf War)

 The whole green sky is dying.
The last tree flares With a great burst of supernatural rose Under a canopy of poisonous airs.
Could we imagine our return to prayers To end in time before time's final throes, The green sky dying as the last tree flares? But we were young in judgement, old in years Who could make peace; but it was war we chose, To spread its canopy of poisoning airs.
Not all our children's pleas and women's fears Could steer us from this hell.
And now God knows His whole green sky is dying as it flares.
Our crops of wheat have turned to fields of tares.
This dreadful century staggers to its close And the sky dies for us, its poisoned heirs.
All rain was dust.
Its granules were our tears.
Throats burst as universal winter rose To kill the whole green sky, the last tree bare Beneath its canopy of poisoned air.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

Reunion

 For more than thirty years we hadn't met.
I remembered the bright query of your face, That single-minded look,intense and stern, Yet most important -how could I forget?- Was what your taught me inadvertantly (tutored by books and parents, even more By my own awe at what was yet to learn): The finest intellect can be a bore.
At this, perhaps our final interview, Still luminous with your passion to instruct, You speak to that recalcitrant pupil who Inhaled the chalk-dust of your rhetoric.
I nod, I sip my wine, I praise your view, Grateful, my dear, that I escaped from you.


by Carolyn Kizer | |

The Ungrateful Garden

 Midas watched the golden crust
That formed over his steaming sores,
Hugged his agues, loved his lust,
But damned to hell the out-of-doors

Where blazing motes of sun impaled
The serrid roses, metal-bright.
"Those famous flowers," Midas wailed, "Have scorched my retina with light.
" This gift, he'd thought, would gild his joys, Silt up the waters of his grief; His lawns a wilderness of noise, The heavy clang of leaf on leaf.
Within, the golden cup is good To lift, to sip the yellow mead.
Outside, in summer's rage, the rude Gold thorn has made his fingers bleed.
"I strolled my halls in golden shift, As ruddy as a lion s meat.
Then I rushed out to share my gift, And golden stubble cut my feet.
" Dazzled with wounds, he limped away To climb into his golden bed, Roses, roses can betray.
"Nature is evil," Midas said