Best Famous Concrete Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Concrete poems. This is a select list of the best famous Concrete poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Concrete poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of concrete poems.

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12
Written by Tupac Shakur | Create an image from this poem

The Rose that Grew from Concrete

Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature's law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping it's dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else ever cared.
Written by Nazim Hikmet | Create an image from this poem

Things I Didnt Know I Loved

 it's 1962 March 28th
I'm sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train 
night is falling
I never knew I liked
night descending like a tired bird on a smoky wet plain 
I don't like
comparing nightfall to a tired bird

I didn't know I loved the earth
can someone who hasn't worked the earth love it 
I've never worked the earth
it must be my only Platonic love

and here I've loved rivers all this time
whether motionless like this they curl skirting the hills
European hills crowned with chateaus
or whether stretched out flat as far as the eye can see
I know you can't wash in the same river even once
I know the river will bring new lights you'll never see
I know we live slightly longer than a horse but not nearly as long as a crow
I know this has troubled people before
 and will trouble those after me
I know all this has been said a thousand times before 
 and will be said after me

I didn't know I loved the sky 
cloudy or clear
the blue vault Andrei studied on his back at Borodino
in prison I translated both volumes of War and Peace into Turkish 
I hear voices
not from the blue vault but from the yard 
the guards are beating someone again
I didn't know I loved trees
bare beeches near Moscow in Peredelkino
they come upon me in winter noble and modest 
beeches are Russian the way poplars are Turkish 
"the poplars of Izmir
losing their leaves.
.
.
they call me The Knife.
.
.
lover like a young tree.
.
.
I blow stately mansions sky-high" in the Ilgaz woods in 1920 I tied an embroidered linen handkerchief to a pine bough for luck I never knew I loved roads even the asphalt kind Vera's behind the wheel we're driving from Moscow to the Crimea Koktebele formerly "Goktepé ili" in Turkish the two of us inside a closed box the world flows past on both sides distant and mute I was never so close to anyone in my life bandits stopped me on the red road between Bolu and Geredé when I was eighteen apart from my life I didn't have anything in the wagon they could take and at eighteen our lives are what we value least I've written this somewhere before wading through a dark muddy street I'm going to the shadow play Ramazan night a paper lantern leading the way maybe nothing like this ever happened maybe I read it somewhere an eight-year-old boy going to the shadow play Ramazan night in Istanbul holding his grandfather's hand his grandfather has on a fez and is wearing the fur coat with a sable collar over his robe and there's a lantern in the servant's hand and I can't contain myself for joy flowers come to mind for some reason poppies cactuses jonquils in the jonquil garden in Kadikoy Istanbul I kissed Marika fresh almonds on her breath I was seventeen my heart on a swing touched the sky I didn't know I loved flowers friends sent me three red carnations in prison I just remembered the stars I love them too whether I'm floored watching them from below or whether I'm flying at their side I have some questions for the cosmonauts were the stars much bigger did they look like huge jewels on black velvet or apricots on orange did you feel proud to get closer to the stars I saw color photos of the cosmos in Ogonek magazine now don't be upset comrades but nonfigurative shall we say or abstract well some of them looked just like such paintings which is to say they were terribly figurative and concrete my heart was in my mouth looking at them they are our endless desire to grasp things seeing them I could even think of death and not feel at all sad I never knew I loved the cosmos snow flashes in front of my eyes both heavy wet steady snow and the dry whirling kind I didn't know I liked snow I never knew I loved the sun even when setting cherry-red as now in Istanbul too it sometimes sets in postcard colors but you aren't about to paint it that way I didn't know I loved the sea except the Sea of Azov or how much I didn't know I loved clouds whether I'm under or up above them whether they look like giants or shaggy white beasts moonlight the falsest the most languid the most petit-bourgeois strikes me I like it I didn't know I liked rain whether it falls like a fine net or splatters against the glass my heart leaves me tangled up in a net or trapped inside a drop and takes off for uncharted countries I didn't know I loved rain but why did I suddenly discover all these passions sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train is it because I lit my sixth cigarette one alone could kill me is it because I'm half dead from thinking about someone back in Moscow her hair straw-blond eyelashes blue the train plunges on through the pitch-black night I never knew I liked the night pitch-black sparks fly from the engine I didn't know I loved sparks I didn't know I loved so many things and I had to wait until sixty to find it out sitting by the window on the Prague-Berlin train watching the world disappear as if on a journey of no return 19 April 1962 Moscow
Written by Lawrence Ferlinghetti | Create an image from this poem

Wild Dreams Of A New Beginning

 There's a breathless hush on the freeway tonight
Beyond the ledges of concrete
restaurants fall into dreams
with candlelight couples
Lost Alexandria still burns
in a billion lightbulbs
Lives cross lives
idling at stoplights
Beyond the cloverleaf turnoffs
'Souls eat souls in the general emptiness'
A piano concerto comes out a kitchen window
A yogi speaks at Ojai
'It's all taking pace in one mind'
On the lawn among the trees
lovers are listening
for the master to tell them they are one
with the universe
Eyes smell flowers and become them
There's a deathless hush
on the freeway tonight
as a Pacific tidal wave a mile high
sweeps in
Los Angeles breathes its last gas
and sinks into the sea like the Titanic all lights lit
Nine minutes later Willa Cather's Nebraska
sinks with it
The sea comes over in Utah
Mormon tabernacles washed away like barnacles
Coyotes are confounded & swim nowhere
An orchestra onstage in Omaha
keeps on playing Handel's Water Music
Horns fill with water
ans bass players float away on their instruments
clutching them like lovers horizontal
Chicago's Loop becomes a rollercoaster
Skyscrapers filled like water glasses
Great Lakes mixed with Buddhist brine
Great Books watered down in Evanston
Milwaukee beer topped with sea foam
Beau Fleuve of Buffalo suddenly become salt
Manhatten Island swept clean in sixteen seconds
buried masts of Amsterdam arise
as the great wave sweeps on Eastward
to wash away over-age Camembert Europe
manhatta steaming in sea-vines
the washed land awakes again to wilderness
the only sound a vast thrumming of crickets
a cry of seabirds high over
in empty eternity
as the Hudson retakes its thickets
and Indians reclaim their canoes
Written by Allen Ginsberg | Create an image from this poem

Plutonian Ode

 I

What new element before us unborn in nature? Is there
 a new thing under the Sun?
At last inquisitive Whitman a modern epic, detonative,
 Scientific theme
First penned unmindful by Doctor Seaborg with poison-
 ous hand, named for Death's planet through the 
 sea beyond Uranus
whose chthonic ore fathers this magma-teared Lord of 
 Hades, Sire of avenging Furies, billionaire Hell-
 King worshipped once
with black sheep throats cut, priests's face averted from
 underground mysteries in single temple at Eleusis,
Spring-green Persephone nuptialed to his inevitable
 Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew,
her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow, 
 black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor-
 able seasons before
Fish flew in Heaven, before a Ram died by the starry
 bush, before the Bull stamped sky and earth
or Twins inscribed their memories in clay or Crab'd
 flood
washed memory from the skull, or Lion sniffed the
 lilac breeze in Eden--
Before the Great Year began turning its twelve signs,
 ere constellations wheeled for twenty-four thousand
 sunny years
slowly round their axis in Sagittarius, one hundred 
 sixty-seven thousand times returning to this night

Radioactive Nemesis were you there at the beginning 
 black dumb tongueless unsmelling blast of Disil-
 lusion?
I manifest your Baptismal Word after four billion years
I guess your birthday in Earthling Night, I salute your
 dreadful presence last majestic as the Gods,
Sabaot, Jehova, Astapheus, Adonaeus, Elohim, Iao, 
 Ialdabaoth, Aeon from Aeon born ignorant in an
 Abyss of Light,
Sophia's reflections glittering thoughtful galaxies, whirl-
 pools of starspume silver-thin as hairs of Einstein!
Father Whitman I celebrate a matter that renders Self
 oblivion!
Grand Subject that annihilates inky hands & pages'
 prayers, old orators' inspired Immortalities,
I begin your chant, openmouthed exhaling into spacious
 sky over silent mills at Hanford, Savannah River,
 Rocky Flats, Pantex, Burlington, Albuquerque
I yell thru Washington, South Carolina, Colorado, 
 Texas, Iowa, New Mexico,
Where nuclear reactors creat a new Thing under the 
 Sun, where Rockwell war-plants fabricate this death
 stuff trigger in nitrogen baths,
Hanger-Silas Mason assembles the terrified weapon
 secret by ten thousands, & where Manzano Moun-
 tain boasts to store
its dreadful decay through two hundred forty millenia
 while our Galaxy spirals around its nebulous core.
I enter your secret places with my mind, I speak with your presence, I roar your Lion Roar with mortal mouth.
One microgram inspired to one lung, ten pounds of heavy metal dust adrift slow motion over grey Alps the breadth of the planet, how long before your radiance speeds blight and death to sentient beings? Enter my body or not I carol my spirit inside you, Unnaproachable Weight, O heavy heavy Element awakened I vocalize your con- sciousness to six worlds I chant your absolute Vanity.
Yeah monster of Anger birthed in fear O most Ignorant matter ever created unnatural to Earth! Delusion of metal empires! Destroyer of lying Scientists! Devourer of covetous Generals, Incinerator of Armies & Melter of Wars! Judgement of judgements, Divine Wind over vengeful nations, Molester of Presidents, Death-Scandal of Capital politics! Ah civilizations stupidly indus- trious! Canker-Hex on multitudes learned or illiterate! Manu- factured Spectre of human reason! O solidified imago of practicioner in Black Arts I dare your reality, I challenge your very being! I publish your cause and effect! I turn the wheel of Mind on your three hundred tons! Your name enters mankind's ear! I embody your ultimate powers! My oratory advances on your vaunted Mystery! This breath dispels your braggart fears! I sing your form at last behind your concrete & iron walls inside your fortress of rubber & translucent silicon shields in filtered cabinets and baths of lathe oil, My voice resounds through robot glove boxes & ignot cans and echoes in electric vaults inert of atmo- sphere, I enter with spirit out loud into your fuel rod drums underground on soundless thrones and beds of lead O density! This weightless anthem trumpets transcendent through hidden chambers and breaks through iron doors into the Infernal Room! Over your dreadful vibration this measured harmony floats audible, these jubilant tones are honey and milk and wine-sweet water Poured on the stone black floor, these syllables are barley groats I scatter on the Reactor's core, I call your name with hollow vowels, I psalm your Fate close by, my breath near deathless ever at your side to Spell your destiny, I set this verse prophetic on your mausoleum walls to seal you up Eternally with Diamond Truth! O doomed Plutonium.
II The Bar surveys Plutonian history from midnight lit with Mercury Vapor streetlamps till in dawn's early light he contemplates a tranquil politic spaced out between Nations' thought-forms proliferating bureaucratic & horrific arm'd, Satanic industries projected sudden with Five Hundred Billion Dollar Strength around the world same time this text is set in Boulder, Colorado before front range of Rocky Mountains twelve miles north of Rocky Flats Nuclear Facility in United States of North America, Western Hemi- sphere of planet Earth six months and fourteen days around our Solar System in a Spiral Galaxy the local year after Dominion of the last God nineteen hundred seventy eight Completed as yellow hazed dawn clouds brighten East, Denver city white below Blue sky transparent rising empty deep & spacious to a morning star high over the balcony above some autos sat with wheels to curb downhill from Flatiron's jagged pine ridge, sunlit mountain meadows sloped to rust-red sandstone cliffs above brick townhouse roofs as sparrows waked whistling through Marine Street's summer green leafed trees.
III This ode to you O Poets and Orators to come, you father Whitman as I join your side, you Congress and American people, you present meditators, spiritual friends & teachers, you O Master of the Diamond Arts, Take this wheel of syllables in hand, these vowels and consonants to breath's end take this inhalation of black poison to your heart, breath out this blessing from your breast on our creation forests cities oceans deserts rocky flats and mountains in the Ten Directions pacify with exhalation, enrich this Plutonian Ode to explode its empty thunder through earthen thought-worlds Magnetize this howl with heartless compassion, destroy this mountain of Plutonium with ordinary mind and body speech, thus empower this Mind-guard spirit gone out, gone out, gone beyond, gone beyond me, Wake space, so Ah! July 14, 1978
Written by Rafael Guillen | Create an image from this poem

Not Fear

 Not fear.
Maybe, out there somewhere, the possibility of fear; the wall that might tumble down, because it's for sure that behind it is the sea.
Not fear.
Fear has a countenance; It's external, concrete, like a rifle, a shot bolt, a suffering child, like the darkness that's hidden in every human mouth.
Not fear.
Maybe only the brand of the offspring of fear.
It's a narrow, interminable street with all the windows darkened, a thread spun out from a sticky hand, friendly, yes, not a friend.
It's a nightmare of polite ritual wearing a frightwig.
Not fear.
Fear is a door slammed in your face.
I'm speaking here of a labyrinth of doors already closed, with assumed reasons for being, or not being, for categorizing bad luck or good, bread, or an expression — tenderness and panic and frigidity - for the children growing up.
And the silence.
And the cities, sparkling, empty.
and the mediocrity, like a hot lava, spewed out over the grain, and the voice, and the idea.
It's not fear.
The real fear hasn't come yet.
But it will.
It's the doublethink that believes peace is only another movement.
And I say it with suspicion, at the top of my lungs.
And it's not fear, no.
It's the certainty that I'm betting, on a single card, the whole haystack I've piled up, straw by straw, for my fellow man.
Written by Adrienne Rich | Create an image from this poem

Cartographies of Silence

 1.
A conversation begins with a lie.
and each speaker of the so-called common language feels the ice-floe split, the drift apart as if powerless, as if up against a force of nature A poem can being with a lie.
And be torn up.
A conversation has other laws recharges itself with its own false energy, Cannot be torn up.
Infiltrates our blood.
Repeats itself.
Inscribes with its unreturning stylus the isolation it denies.
2.
The classical music station playing hour upon hour in the apartment the picking up and picking up and again picking up the telephone The syllables uttering the old script over and over The loneliness of the liar living in the formal network of the lie twisting the dials to drown the terror beneath the unsaid word 3.
The technology of silence The rituals, etiquette the blurring of terms silence not absence of words or music or even raw sounds Silence can be a plan rigorously executed the blueprint of a life It is a presence it has a history a form Do not confuse it with any kind of absence 4.
How calm, how inoffensive these words begin to seem to me though begun in grief and anger Can I break through this film of the abstract without wounding myself or you there is enough pain here This is why the classical of the jazz music station plays? to give a ground of meaning to our pain? 5.
The silence strips bare: In Dreyer's Passion of Joan Falconetti's face, hair shorn, a great geography mutely surveyed by the camera If there were a poetry where this could happen not as blank space or as words stretched like skin over meaningsof a night through which two people have talked till dawn.
6.
The scream of an illegitimate voice It has ceased to hear itself, therefore it asks itself How do I exist? This was the silence I wanted to break in you I had questions but you would not answer I had answers but you could not use them The is useless to you and perhaps to others 7.
It was an old theme even for me: Language cannot do everything- chalk it on the walls where the dead poets lie in their mausoleums If at the will of the poet the poem could turn into a thing a granite flank laid bare, a lifted head alight with dew If it could simply look you in the face with naked eyeballs, not letting you turn till you, and I who long to make this thing, were finally clarified together in its stare 8.
No.
Let me have this dust, these pale clouds dourly lingering, these words moving with ferocious accuracy like the blind child's fingers or the newborn infant's mouth violent with hunger No one can give me, I have long ago taken this method whether of bran pouring from the loose-woven sack or of the bunsen-flame turned low and blue If from time to time I envy the pure annunciation to the eye the visio beatifica if from time to time I long to turn like the Eleusinian hierophant holding up a single ear of grain for the return to the concrete and everlasting world what in fact I keep choosing are these words, these whispers, conversations from which time after time the truth breaks moist and green.
Written by Tupac Shakur | Create an image from this poem

Untitled 1

Father forgive us for living
Why are all my homies stuck in prison?
Barely breathing, believing that this world is a prison
It's like a ghetto we can never leave
A broken rose giving bloom through the cracks of the concrete
So many things for us to see
Things to be
Our history so full of tragedy and misery
To all the homies who never made it home
The dead peers I shed tattooed tears for when I'm alone
Picture us inside a ghetto heaven
A place to rest finding peace through this land of stress
In my chest I feel pain come in sudden storms
A life full of rain in this game watch for land thorns
Our unborn never got to grow, never got to see what's next
In this world filled with countless threats
I beg God to find a way for our ghetto kids to breath
Show a sign make us all believe 
Written by Anne Sexton | Create an image from this poem

Suicide Note

 "You speak to me of narcissism but I reply that it is 
a matter of my life" - Artaud

"At this time let me somehow bequeath all the leftovers 
to my daughters and their daughters" - Anonymous

Better, 
despite the worms talking to 
the mare's hoof in the field; 
better, 
despite the season of young girls 
dropping their blood; 
better somehow 
to drop myself quickly 
into an old room.
Better (someone said) not to be born and far better not to be born twice at thirteen where the boardinghouse, each year a bedroom, caught fire.
Dear friend, I will have to sink with hundreds of others on a dumbwaiter into hell.
I will be a light thing.
I will enter death like someone's lost optical lens.
Life is half enlarged.
The fish and owls are fierce today.
Life tilts backward and forward.
Even the wasps cannot find my eyes.
Yes, eyes that were immediate once.
Eyes that have been truly awake, eyes that told the whole story— poor dumb animals.
Eyes that were pierced, little nail heads, light blue gunshots.
And once with a mouth like a cup, clay colored or blood colored, open like the breakwater for the lost ocean and open like the noose for the first head.
Once upon a time my hunger was for Jesus.
O my hunger! My hunger! Before he grew old he rode calmly into Jerusalem in search of death.
This time I certainly do not ask for understanding and yet I hope everyone else will turn their heads when an unrehearsed fish jumps on the surface of Echo Lake; when moonlight, its bass note turned up loud, hurts some building in Boston, when the truly beautiful lie together.
I think of this, surely, and would think of it far longer if I were not… if I were not at that old fire.
I could admit that I am only a coward crying me me me and not mention the little gnats, the moths, forced by circumstance to suck on the electric bulb.
But surely you know that everyone has a death, his own death, waiting for him.
So I will go now without old age or disease, wildly but accurately, knowing my best route, carried by that toy donkey I rode all these years, never asking, “Where are we going?” We were riding (if I'd only known) to this.
Dear friend, please do not think that I visualize guitars playing or my father arching his bone.
I do not even expect my mother's mouth.
I know that I have died before— once in November, once in June.
How strange to choose June again, so concrete with its green breasts and bellies.
Of course guitars will not play! The snakes will certainly not notice.
New York City will not mind.
At night the bats will beat on the trees, knowing it all, seeing what they sensed all day.
Written by Ogden Nash | Create an image from this poem

A Tale Of The Thirteenth Floor

 The hands of the clock were reaching high
In an old midtown hotel;
I name no name, but its sordid fame
Is table talk in hell.
I name no name, but hell's own flame Illumes the lobby garish, A gilded snare just off Times Square For the maidens of the parish.
The revolving door swept the grimy floor Like a crinoline grotesque, And a lowly bum from an ancient slum Crept furtively past the desk.
His footsteps sift into the lift As a knife in the sheath is slipped, Stealthy and swift into the lift As a vampire into a crypt.
Old Maxie, the elevator boy, Was reading an ode by Shelley, But he dropped the ode as it were a toad When the gun jammed into his belly.
There came a whisper as soft as mud In the bed of an old canal: "Take me up to the suite of Pinball Pete, The rat who betrayed my gal.
" The lift doth rise with groans and sighs Like a duchess for the waltz, Then in middle shaft, like a duchess daft, It changes its mind and halts.
The bum bites lip as the landlocked ship Doth neither fall nor rise, But Maxie the elevator boy Regards him with burning eyes.
"First, to explore the thirteenth floor," Says Maxie, "would be wise.
" Quoth the bum, "There is moss on your double cross, I have been this way before, I have cased the joint at every point, And there is no thirteenth floor.
The architect he skipped direct From twelve unto fourteen, There is twelve below and fourteen above, And nothing in between, For the vermin who dwell in this hotel Could never abide thirteen.
" Said Max, "Thirteen, that floor obscene, Is hidden from human sight; But once a year it doth appear, On this Walpurgis Night.
Ere you peril your soul in murderer's role, Heed those who sinned of yore; The path they trod led away from God, And onto the thirteenth floor, Where those they slew, a grisly crew, Reproach them forevermore.
"We are higher than twelve and below fourteen," Said Maxie to the bum, "And the sickening draft that taints the shaft Is a whiff of kingdom come.
The sickening draft that taints the shaft Blows through the devil's door!" And he squashed the latch like a fungus patch, And revealed the thirteenth floor.
It was cheap cigars like lurid scars That glowed in the rancid gloom, The murk was a-boil with fusel oil And the reek of stale perfume.
And round and round there dragged and wound A loathsome conga chain, The square and the hep in slow lock step, The slayer and the slain.
(For the souls of the victims ascend on high, But their bodies below remain.
) The clean souls fly to their home in the sky, But their bodies remain below To pursue the Cain who each has slain And harry him to and fro.
When life is extinct each corpse is linked To its gibbering murderer, As a chicken is bound with wire around The neck of a killer cur.
Handcuffed to Hate come Doctor Waite (He tastes the poison now), And Ruth and Judd and a head of blood With horns upon its brow.
Up sashays Nan with her feathery fan From Floradora bright; She never hung for Caesar Young But she's dancing with him tonight.
Here's the bulging hip and the foam-flecked lip Of the mad dog, Vincent Coll, And over there that ill-met pair, Becker and Rosenthal, Here's Legs and Dutch and a dozen such Of braggart bullies and brutes, And each one bends 'neath the weight of friends Who are wearing concrete suits.
Now the damned make way for the double-damned Who emerge with shuffling pace From the nightmare zone of persons unknown, With neither name nor face.
And poor Dot King to one doth cling, Joined in a ghastly jig, While Elwell doth jape at a goblin shape And tickle it with his wig.
See Rothstein pass like breath on a glass, The original Black Sox kid; He riffles the pack, riding piggyback On the killer whose name he hid.
And smeared like brine on a slavering swine, Starr Faithful, once so fair, Drawn from the sea to her debauchee, With the salt sand in her hair.
And still they come, and from the bum The icy sweat doth spray; His white lips scream as in a dream, "For God's sake, let's away! If ever I meet with Pinball Pete I will not seek his gore, Lest a treadmill grim I must trudge with him On the hideous thirteenth floor.
" "For you I rejoice," said Maxie's voice, "And I bid you go in peace, But I am late for a dancing date That nevermore will cease.
So remember, friend, as your way you wend, That it would have happened to you, But I turned the heat on Pinball Pete; You see - I had a daughter, too!" The bum reached out and he tried to shout, But the door in his face was slammed, And silent as stone he rode down alone From the floor of the double-damned.
Written by Edgar Bowers | Create an image from this poem

Elegy: Walking the Line

 Every month or so, Sundays, we walked the line,
The limit and the boundary.
Past the sweet gum Superb above the cabin, along the wall— Stones gathered from the level field nearby When first we cleared it.
(Angry bumblebees Stung the two mules.
They kicked.
Thirteen, I ran.
) And then the field: thread-leaf maple, deciduous Magnolia, hybrid broom, and, further down, In light shade, one Franklinia Alatamaha In solstice bloom, all white, most graciously.
On the sunnier slope, the wild plums that my mother Later would make preserves of, to give to friends Or sell, in autumn, with the foxgrape, quince, Elderberry, and muscadine.
Around The granite overhang, moist den of foxes; Gradually up a long hill, high in pine, Park-like, years of dry needles on the ground, And dogwood, slopes the settlers terraced; pine We cut at Christmas, berries, hollies, anise, And cones for sale in Mister Haymore’s yard In town, below the Courthouse Square.
James Haymore, One of the two good teachers at Boys’ High, Ironic and demanding, chemistry; Mary Lou Culver taught us English: essays, Plot summaries, outlines, meters, kinds of clauses (Noun, adjective, and adverb, five at a time), Written each day and then revised, and she Up half the night to read them once again Through her pince-nez, under a single lamp.
Across the road, on a steeper hill, the settlers Set a house, unpainted, the porch fallen in, The road a red clay strip without a bridge, A shallow stream that liked to overflow.
Oliver Brand’s mules pulled our station wagon Out of the gluey mire, earth’s rust.
Then, here And there, back from the road, the specimen Shrubs and small trees my father planted, some Taller than we were, some in bloom, some berried, And some we still brought water to.
We always Paused at the weed-filled hole beside the beech That, one year, brought forth beech nuts by the thousands, A hole still reminiscent of the man Chewing tobacco in among his whiskers My father happened on, who, discovered, told Of dreaming he should dig there for the gold And promised to give half of what he found.
During the wars with Germany and Japan, Descendents of the settlers, of Oliver Brand And of that man built Flying Fortresses For Lockheed, in Atlanta; now they build Brick mansions in the woods they left, with lawns To paved and lighted streets, azaleas, camellias Blooming among the pines and tulip trees— Mercedes Benz and Cadillac Republicans.
There was another stream further along Divided through a marsh, lined by the fence We stretched to posts with Mister Garner’s help The time he needed cash for his son’s bail And offered all his place.
A noble spring Under the oak root cooled his milk and butter.
He called me “honey,” working with us there (My father bought three acres as a gift), His wife pale, hair a country orange, voice Uncanny, like a ghost’s, through the open door Behind her, chickens scratching on the floor.
Barred Rocks, our chickens; one, a rooster, splendid Sliver and grey, red comb and long sharp spurs, Once chased Aunt Jennie as far as the daphne bed The two big king snakes were familiars of.
My father’s dog would challenge him sometimes To laughter and applause.
Once, in Stone Mountain, Travelers, stopped for gas, drove off with Smokey; Angrily, grievingly, leaving his work, my father Traced the car and found them way far south, Had them arrested and, bringing Smokey home, Was proud as Sherlock Holmes, and happier.
Above the spring, my sister’s cats, black Amy, Grey Junior, down to meet us.
The rose trees, Domestic, Asiatic, my father’s favorites.
The bridge, marauding dragonflies, the bullfrog, Camellias cracked and blackened by the freeze, Bay tree, mimosa, mountain laurel, apple, Monkey pine twenty feet high, banana shrub, The owls’ tall pine curved like a flattened S.
The pump house Mort and I built block by block, Smooth concrete floor, roof pale aluminum Half-covered by a clematis, the pump Thirty feet down the mountain’s granite foot.
Mort was the hired man sent to us by Fortune, Childlike enough to lead us.
He brought home, Although he could not even drive a tractor, Cheated, a worthless car, which we returned.
When, at the trial to garnishee his wages, Frank Guess, the judge, Grandmother’s longtime neighbor, Whose children my mother taught in Cradle Roll, Heard Mort’s examination, he broke in As if in disbelief on the bank’s attorneys: “Gentlemen, must we continue this charade?” Finally, past the compost heap, the garden, Tomatoes and sweet corn for succotash, Okra for frying, Kentucky Wonders, limas, Cucumbers, squashes, leeks heaped round with soil, Lavender, dill, parsley, and rosemary, Tithonia and zinnias between the rows; The greenhouse by the rock wall, used for cuttings In late spring, frames to grow them strong for planting Through winter into summer.
Early one morning Mort called out, lying helpless by the bridge.
His ashes we let drift where the magnolia We planted as a stem divides the path The others lie, too young, at Silver Hill, Except my mother.
Ninety-five, she lives Three thousand miles away, beside the bare Pacific, in rooms that overlook the Mission, The Riviera, and the silver range La Cumbre east.
Magnolia grandiflora And one druidic live oak guard the view.
Proudly around the walls, she shows her paintings Of twenty years ago: the great oak’s arm Extended, Zeuslike, straight and strong, wisteria Tangled among the branches, amaryllis Around the base; her cat, UC, at ease In marigolds; the weeping cherry, pink And white arms like a blessing to the blue Bird feeder Mort made; cabin, scarlet sweet gum Superb when tribes migrated north and south.
Alert, still quick of speech, a little blind, Active, ready for laughter, open to fear, Pity, and wonder that such things may be, Some Sundays, I think, she must walk the line, Aunt Jennie, too, if she were still alive, And Eleanor, whose story is untold, Their presences like muses, prompting me In my small study, all listening to the sea, All of one mind, the true posterity.
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