Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AUGUST FIRST, by HAYDEN CARRUTH



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AUGUST FIRST, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Late night on the porch, thinking
Last Line: The brook talks. The night listens
Subject(s): August


Late night on the porch, thinking
of old poems. Another day's
work, another evening's,
done. A large moth, probably
Catocala, batters the screen,
but lazily, its strength spent,
its wings tattered. It perches
trembling on the sill. The sky
is hot dark summer, neither
moon nor stars, air unstirring,
darkness complete; and the brook
sounds low, a discourse fumbling
among obstinate stones. I
remember a poem I wrote
years ago when my wife and
I had been married twenty-two
days, an exuberant
poem of love, death, the white
snow, personal purity. Now
I look without seeing at
a geranium on the sill;
and, still full of day and evening,
of what to do for money,
I wonder what became of
purity. The world is a
complex fatigue. The moth tries
once more, wavering desperately
up the screen, beating, insane,
behind the geranium. It
is an immense geranium,
the biggest I've ever seen,
with a stem like a small tree
branching, so that two thick arms
rise against the blackness of
this summer sky, and hold up
ten blossom clusters, bright bursts
of color. What is it -- coral,
mallow? Isn't there a color
called "geranium?" No matter.
They are clusters of richness
held against the night in quiet
exultation, five on each branch,
upraised. I bought it myself
and gave it to my young wife
years ago, a plastic cup
with a 19 pound seedling
from the supermarket, now
so thick, leathery-stemmed,
and bountiful with blossom.
The moth rests again, clinging.
The brook talks. The night listens.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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