Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE IMPORTANCE OF GREEN, by JAMES GALVIN

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE IMPORTANCE OF GREEN, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Small towns are for knowing who's poor
Last Line: No more than the dress itself / of green
Subject(s): Green (color); Poverty; Tailors; Towns; Dress Makers

Small towns are for knowing who's poor.
I recognized her, the welder's daughter.
In a store she touched a green dress,
But she couldn't buy it.
The salesgirl scolded, making her ashamed.

That's how the sun comes through the open door today,
Still poor from night rain.
The road to town is a muddy tongue.

The forest stands ajar
And I could get up from this chair and disappear
Into the coldly steaming pine,
Which is like the next great philosophy
That will pity no one.

Its particularity is awesome.
The blue flower whose name I never remember
Joys through the eyeholes of a horse's skull,
A horse named Lola we kids rode.

Past the anthill roofed with mothwings,
Handfuls of elk hair like smoke the barbed wire snagged.
At sunset the invisible lakes rise and color
Like pieces of the biggest mirror ever broken.

Like those things,
But not those things exactly.
Interchangeable, let's say.

I could walk through groves where there are no paths
Until I was shrouded in cobwebs -- I've done it before --
Like someone who lived in a dark cellar forever.
Like someone who lived in a dark cellar forever,

Needles resilient under my feet,
I could walk out into the sunlight
And tell you the truth:

The girl who wanted the dress doesn't matter --
No more than the dress itself,
Or green.

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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