Keith Douglas

(January 24, 1920 – June 9, 1944 / Tunbridge Wells, Kent)

Desert Flowers - Poem by Keith Douglas

Living in a wide landscape are the flowers -
Rosenberg I only repeat what you were saying -
the shell and the hawk every hour
are slaying men and jerboas, slaying

the mind: but the body can fill
the hungry flowers and the dogs who cry words
at nights, the most hostile things of all.
But that is not news. Each time the night discards

draperies on the eyes and leaves the mind awake
I look each side of the door of sleep
for the little coin it will take
to buy the secret I shall not keep.

I see men as trees suffering
or confound the detail and the horizon.
Lay the coin on my tongue and I will sing
of what the others never set eyes on.

Topic(s) of this poem: flowers


Comments about Desert Flowers by Keith Douglas

  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/20/2015 2:49:00 AM)

    Interesting poem......liked it..8 (Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Terry Craddock (4/30/2015 9:55:00 PM)

    With the photo of Keith Douglas in uniform, the title 'Desert Flowers' with World War Two significance for those knowing British military history and the reference to Rosenberg, a famous World War One poet, it would be hard for me not to have expectations for this poem. The desert nights, awake on sentry duty, could produce reflections like

    the shell and the hawk every hour
    are slaying men and jerboas, slaying

    the mind: but the body can fill
    the hungry flowers and the dogs who cry words
    at nights, the most hostile things of all.
    But that is not news. Each time the night discards

    draperies on the eyes and leaves the mind awake

    only in the mind of a truly gifted poet which Keith Douglas was. To me the lines

    I look each side of the door of sleep
    for the little coin it will take
    to buy the secret I shall not keep.

    echoes paying a coin in death to cross the River Styx, the secret of war millions have sadly first hand learned. Thus to me their is a strong anti-war echo in the final stanza

    I see men as trees suffering
    or confound the detail and the horizon.
    Lay the coin on my tongue and I will sing
    of what the others never set eyes on.

    What a poem, what a poet.
    (Report)Reply

    9 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • (4/30/2015 7:17:00 AM)

    I don't know what any of this means. (Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
Read all 3 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Friday, January 2, 2015

Poem Edited: Friday, January 2, 2015


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