blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


PIVOT POINTS  |  Dave Smith

Warren's Flowers

Out of the chalet, chests warm with bourbon
poured lunch long, we moved in leaves
Vermont lay down season after season,
going to the pond he’d dammed up,
where each lap, he said, sounded a line
he strung over the water, over blackness
it made my skin creep to look down upon.

But now I saw his writing room out there
under the great canopy where the sun
occasionally starred the resolute dark,
its walls only screen, the roof flat,
sloped like a face nothing here loved.
As if some interrogation was in progress,
in the middle sat a plain desk and chair.

Blossoms white as camellias, some fat
like magnolias, budded the understory,
emerging from the earth no one had
disturbed with plow or foundation,
fecund as answers. Already we had come
to log-steps he hacked in the hillside,
crows jeered our intrusion, a web's flap

grazed my face. Things moved. I’d been in
the pond already, the slick newts eyeing me,
the moss that clung like unsloughed skin,
a bottom no weight could hold long on.
"What flowers grow up there?" I asked.
"The pale, unfinished kind," he laughed.
Soon he’d go under. And then "just poems."

 The Clam-Rake Room
   Warren's Flowers
   Las Flores de Robert
 Penn Warren

   Notes and Acknowledgments
   Levis Reading Loop