Lola Ridge

(December 12, 1873- May 19, 1941 / Dublin)

Cactus Seed Poem by Lola Ridge


Radiant notes piercing my narrow-chested room, beating down through my ceiling— smeared with unshapen belly-prints of dreams drifted out of old smokes— trillions of icily peltering notes out of just one canary, all grown to song as a plant to its stalk, from too long craning at a sky-light and a square of second-hand blue.

Silvery-strident throat—
so assiduously serenading my brain,
flinching under
the glittering hail of your notes—
were you not safe behind… rats know what thickness of… plastered wall…
I might fathom
your golden delirium
with throttle of finger and thumb
shutting valve of bright song.

II

But if… away off… on a fork of grassed earth
socketing an inlet reach of blue water…
if canaries (do they sing out of cages?)
flung such luminous notes,
they would sink in the spirit…
lie germinal…
housed in the soul as a seed in the earth…
to break forth at spring with the crocuses into young smiles
on the mouth.
Or glancing off buoyantly,
radiate notes in one key
with the sparkle of rain-drops
on the petal of a cactus flower
focusing the just-out sun.
Cactus… why cactus? God… God… somewhere… away off… cactus flowers, star-yellow ray out of spiked green, and empties of sky roll you over and over like a mother her baby in long grass. And only the wind scandal-mongers with gum trees, pricking multiple leaves at his amazing story.

Submitted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Edited: Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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