Saturday, August 1, 2009

Flowers of the Foothills & Mountain Valleys

I'm a bit on the run this morning, so the intro to this week's Weekly Poem will be brief. However, I should say that I've admired both this particular poem & the work of poet Alice Notley for some time. Her eye for detail—including color—is impeccable, as is her wit. Hope you enjoy this!

Flowers of the Foothills & Mountain Valleys

Compassion is pungent
& sharply aromatic. Small
yellow heads in late summer.
Love & hatred are
delicate & fragrant.
Around a yellow disc.
Glory is found along the shores
intoning “I change but in death.”
Sincerity has delicate &
feathery leaves. Dignity is
fragrant & look like a little
brown nail. The leaves
of hidden worth are deeply cut;
a 19th century American
artist & inventor. Sir
Thomas Campion blooms in July
pinkly with notched petals. The
clearest of gins taste of
bluish protection, lovely
Mary & little Jesus found
refuge, in Egypt, in gin.
Hid from sight in
the bark of the cinammon tree
a light flashes on & off,
dazzles, whistles. Remembrance
is the most fragrant, love is
the most dark pink, courage
is grey-green growing wild.

Alice Notley


  1. Hey! She Is Rather Fine.Thanks For The Intro.

  2. Great poem. "The clearest of gins tastes of bluish protection" Fine line.

  3. I hadn't come across Alice Notley before, but will make a point of looking her up. This piece reminds me of an interview with a so called idiot savant that I heard a couple of months ago. He has an amazing ability with numbers and manipulates them in his head based on an idea of their personalities and oter qualities, colour especially. The idea here of emotions having colours and smells, the way she plays a sort of reverse 'language of flowers' game is all intriguing. I especially like the gin bits, and Mary and little Jesus taking refuge in it. I'm not much of a drinker but I love the herbal complexities and smells of different gins, and this poem is rather like a good one.

  4. Hmmm. Seems we were all drawn to the gin. Now I know why I stopped drinking. Seductive stuff, that gin.
    The same may be said of the poem as a whole. Thanks for another introduction. So little time, so many poets.

  5. "Remembrance is the most fragrant, love is the most dark pink, courage
    is grey-green growing wild."

    Particularly appreciate how she relates colors and flora to characteristics and sensibilities. An orientation I share.

    Did our "Original Sunday" go poof? Look forward to your stopping by.

  6. Hi Tony, Alan, Mairi, Sandra & Rose Marie!

    We're finally back--I'm bushed from a couple of very busy days, but glad you all stopped by.

    Tony: Yes, she's an excellent poet. Hope you have a chance to read more.

    Alan: Glad you liked it!

    Mairi: I've always found the gin bits a bit hard to decipher, but I think you're onto something with the complex "bouquet" of gin. I love the reverse language of flowers a lot. I don't think you'll be disappointed to explore Ms Notley's work further.

    Sandra: As I mentioned to Mairi, I've always been a little puzzled by the gin part, but I think you & Mairi are both in the right territory as far as those lines goes. Glad you liked this.

    Rose Marie: Yes, you do share that orientation in your poems, & I'm also particularly fond of the lines you quoted.

    As far as Original Poetry Sunday goes--didn't post today because we were gone most of the weekend, & probably won't get to many blog visits until tomorrow. My poetic input is really remarkably sporadic & somewhat unpredictable. While I'd be happy to post original poems on Sunday when I'm in the writing mode, I'm not at present, & I made a decision not to post older poems, at least for the time being. I have been trying to post original music on Sunday to stay somewhat in the spirit of the thing. Will look forward to reading your latest offerings soon!


Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Please do note, however, that this blog no longer accepts anonymous comments. All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience.