lilies tongue the brassy air


day lilly

The photo is mine, the poem belongs to Rosanna Warren

Day Lilies

For six days, full-throated, they praised 
the light with speckled tongues and blare 
        of silence by the porch stair: 
honor guard with blazons and trumpets raised 
still heralding the steps of those 
        who have not for years walked here 
        but who once, pausing, chose

this slope for a throng of lilies: 
and hacked with mattock, pitching stones 
        and clods aside to tamp dense 
clumps of bog-soil for new roots to seize. 
So lilies tongued the brassy air 
        and cast it back in the sun's 
        wide hearing. So, the pair 

who planted the bulbs stood and heard 
that clarion silence. We've heard it, 
        standing here toward sunset 
as those gaping, burnished corollas poured 
their flourish. But the petals have 
        shrivelled, from each crumpled knot 
        droops a tangle of rough 

notes shrunk to a caul of music. 
Extend your palms: you could as well 
        cup sunbeams as pour brim-full 
again those absent flowers, or touch the quick 
arms of those who bent here, trowel in 
        hand, and scraped and sifted soil 
        held in a bed of stone.




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