Today's poem is by Richard Tillinghast

One Morning a Rose Blooms

and swallows glide atop heat swells.
You gaze up at the black walnut tree
over the deck as if it would never alter.

But all at once the leaves have gone yellow.
Then one morning the tree is a bleak crown;
tweeds and flannels hang in your closet.

A day comes when you are looking for your gloves
and the phone number
of the man you buy firewood from.

Now the deck has been cleared and swept clean.
A crow tries to fly but the wind blows him sideways
in its relentlessness.

How good to have built a sanctuary
and put a roof on it—
painted it green and awakened a fire

at the heart of it to splinter the distances
between this room and the cold
miles of the galaxies.

Flowers, because everyone needs
the transport of flowers to take away
the marks made on the heart by treachery

and blandness and stupidity—
your own as much as others'.
That's what darkness is.

The sky goes blank for an afternoon
and a morning. Then it rains.
And then the snow starts to fall.

Therefore, you have brought a tree inside
and put lights on it
and filled your house with

fragrance and fire and food and
carols for Christmas morning:
Noel, noel, noel.

Copyright © 2006 Richard Tillinghast All rights reserved
from the Southern Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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