Starting Words from Robert Hass, with a Cold Body Audience

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 21:13 -- woila

The second of three poems in a final project assigned during the ELA 12 poetry unit.

Beginning stanza, quoted, belongs to "Spring Drawing 2" by Robert Hass;

the rest of the poem was gladly inspired by it.

Dated 10/22/2019


Though I think I did well on the technicals here, I can't help but feel in hindsight that the moribund chaos I took this afterstory in the direction of was a generally inappropriate, and offensively vulgar contrast to "Spring Drawing 2".

I may write a heavy rework of this poem in the future, with more of an effort to restrain my tendencies towards thanatotic interpretation.

Time will tell.



Starting Words from Robert Hass, with a Cold Body Audience


“A man says lilacs against

White houses, two sparrows, one streaked

in a thinning birch, and can’t find his way to a sentence.”


The sparrows that eat the beetles, say-lack crush them between their teeth.

Taking the evening chair, he is in an open hangar, and a dry woodrot-mouth.


Amid the thornberries, there are the reaching, gaping maws

Of mislapped honeysuckle and rose, who mist the heavy air with

Their dank and rancid perfumes!

Like the wagging, serpentine tongues of Cerberus,

They awash him with it!

Growing open with fat maroon impatience,

--It begs the question, does it not: what greed are they imparting on him?--

“Go ahead and speak, boy! See how the fray is loudest when you see the sound.

It is Good to hold your palate in submission, and let the fog ring sparse, and know no enemy stands to you!”

That woman in the white, white house, what is she but a temperate store?
She who candies her bone gelatin in lilac --petals?--and squeezes it like a moldform through the windows

And makes sweet shredded paper for the beasties to eat and void on

Lets her bones roll hot in oil and take no shape, dissolve to a string but to hand the titmouse’ apron down.


(I have curbed my appetite, I can no longer eat in peace.

I should rather take out my teeth than incur my gluttony.)


The sparrows in their vulgar line

pass to one-another

a crushed seed between their beaks

and chide their cronely mother;

Then plant it between the bricks of the white barn owl

And its call is silent,

The roses and the honeysuckle pass from hand to hand to palm, past the thinning hair

Flanked by two homely ears, and the lilac comes to the breast pocket

And the man, said-lacks below his pallored palms,

Can only form silence.



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