A Promise To Keep (Update.) Poem by William F Dougherty

A Promise To Keep (Update.)

Rating: 5.0

Words are for those with promises to keep. — W.H. Auden

I promised her the garden's glory:
marigold's monarchal blooms,
ageratum's lavender fuzz, the
grainy beards of coxcombs' plumes;
sturdy zinnias, salvia's flames,
snapdragons, and tiger lilies: raw
cuttings from home to grace a stone
in final, promissory awe.

Crystal-needled frost struck and drained
the promised flowers brown; left them
in rows of shriveled heads to nod
on gallows of each blackened stem.
I bought chrysanthemums and filled
her navy vase with bronze and gold
clusters to decorate the grave—
my quaking hand let slip its hold.

The vase discharged against a stone
and shattered, as if the cobalt night
had cracked again: the fragments gemmed
my gold bouquet with bluish light.
The flowers lost—love left unsaid—
planted in my repentant sleep
the seeds to start a garden of words
where love and promises will keep.

(Re-worded published in 'The Lyric.' Fall,2012.
Earlier versions appeared in 'Owl Light, and
'Poems: New & Used.')

Who's Who in Poetry 2012 (page 1)

William F Dougherty 13 July 2012

The epigraph from Auden takes on predictive meaning. His poem said that words should be with-held from flowers and birds because-quote.

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William F Dougherty 28 May 2012

Shahzia: Yes. Signal poem about mother's sudden death. Did replant garden. Discovered she had saved my college poems, therefore-

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Shahzia Batool 28 May 2012

interesting poem with a gradual movement...1st stanza is rich in promises n tall claims....beautiful anti-climactic ending....with a heightened effect...

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Ramesh Rai 01 April 2012

the seeds to start a garden of words where love and promises, keep. I like the poem and its flow.

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