Marcus Aurelius Rose

From the five good emperors
I have learned that there were five good emperors,

From the lemon tree I've planted
now I know that leaves unpummeled yet will drop,

From the clock, the time, it's five p.m.,
from the sun the length of day,

From Quercus borealis, the queer names of the leaves
of all the trees,

From burning I've learned burning,
from the aster family chickory abounds,

From hawkweed of the colors bright,
from sleeping, of my dreams,

From mosquitoes, scratching, from fishes, fishing,
from turkeys how to run and how to hop,

From erect perennials I've learned to reach the shelf,
from my cats to lick the dark part of the tin,

From the sparrows I've learned this and that,
from Germanic tribes, to gather thoughts in herds,

From the window blinds, from the sun decayed,
from the heart, a brimming record braised and turned.

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