May Swenson

(May 28, 1913 – December 4, 1989 / Utah)

Cardinal Ideograms Poem by May Swenson


A mouth. Can blow or breathe,
be a funnel, or Hello.

A grass blade or a cut.

A question seated. And a proud
bird's neck.

Shallow mitten for two-fingered hand.

Three-cornered hut
on one stilt. Sometimes built
so the roof gapes.

A policeman. Polite.
Wearing visored cap.

O unrolling,
tape of ambiguous length
on which is written the mystery
of everything curly.

A step,
detached from its stair.

The universe in diagram:
A cosmic hourglass.
(Note enigmatic shape,
absence of any value of origin,
how end overlaps beginning.)
Unknotted like a shoelace
and whipped back and forth,
can serve as a model of time.

Lorgnette for the right eye.
In England or if you are Alice
the stem is on the left.

A grass blade or a cut
companioned by a mouth.
Open? Open. Shut? Shut.

Submitted: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Form:


Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Cardinal Ideograms by May Swenson )

  • Rookie Deidre Fichte (1/10/2014 12:02:00 PM)

    Hi there......you forgot to include the numbers to the left, which is pretty integral to this poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  2. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  3. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  4. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  5. If, Rudyard Kipling
  6. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  7. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
  8. Warning, Jenny Joseph
  9. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep, Mary Elizabeth Frye
  10. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
[Hata Bildir]