Today's poem is by David Barber

from From A Burbank Catalogue

III. "Handkerchiefs on the Lawn"

Famous for its diffidence, the evening primrose waits
For light to fail before unclasping. But the ones
He has arrayed in perfect schoolroom rows

Between the plot of gladioli and the verbena beds
Are learning the virtues of opening
With alacrity, extending the span of their blossoms

Beyond their wildest intentions. No longer
Can they be coveted for their pale hands
Cupped to receive an even share of mild chill:

He has bred in them an urgency and willfulness,
A flair for wanderlust. And so by now
He can no longer say they greet him

As he returns from the greenhouse at dusk—
Each hand now grasps a rippling handkerchief
In the customary manner of farewells.

He would like to think they are leaving behind
The cant of a crabbed and fearful world,
shipload of sturdy pilgrims setting forth

On the strength of his luminous convictions.
He would like to think they are waving goodbye
To the bedrock of luck and accident.

Copyright © 2006 David Barber All rights reserved
from Wonder Cabinet
Triquarterly Books
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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