Today's poem is by Jim Barnes

On the Hill Back of La Ciotat

Poppies begin to bloom among
the wild rosemary and lavender:
the red swath starts meandering
toward the sea. Olive trees belong

here where the wind twists the fruit firm
and trunks into such grotesque form
no normal axe will ever fell them.
We take the drive up slowly, turn

with caution on the narrow roads
whose walls are mostly fallen down
and even more down than we can
say since the hill is steep and broad.

Far down we see a house someone
called a home, or rather we see
more fallen stone the sea will claim.
Once a home but now a ruin upon

the hill few seldom climb. Poppies
lean against its remaining walls
as if to stall the last stones'
completely falling down. I will

remember to count my last days
by rock and flower: to end as smooth
as loose stone in a flow of poppies,
ah, what brilliance and what praise!

Copyright © 2003 Jim Barnes All rights reserved
from The Formalist
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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