Stanley Plumly, “Lapsed Meadows”

Stanley Plumly
photo: Ron Hogan/GalleyCat

Wild has its skills. the apple grew so close
to the ground it seemed the tree was thicket,
crab, and root, and by fall would look like brush
among the burdock and the hawkweed, as if at heart
it had been cut and piled for burning.
Along the edges, at the corners, like failed fence,
the hawthorns, by comparison, seemed planted.
Everywhere else there was broom grass, timothy,
and wood fern, and sometimes a sapling,
sometimes a run of hazel; sometimes, depending,
fruit still green or grounded and rotting underfoot.
I remember, in Ohio, fields of wastes of nature,
lost pasture, fallow clearings, buckwheat
and fireweed and broken sparrow nests,
especially in the summer, in the fading hilltop sun,
when you could lose yourself by simply lying down.
Who will find you, who will call you home now, at dusk,
with the dry tips of the goldenrod confused”
with a little wind, filling in for what’s left of the light?

Orphan Hours is the eleventh book of poems by Stanley Plumly; I took this photo of him in 2008, after he’d just won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Old Heart. Other poems in this new collection include “Cancer (originally published in The New Yorker), “Afterward” (Kenyon Review), “Vesper Sparrow” (The New Republic), and “Verisimilitude” (The Atlantic). “Amidon Christmas Tree Farm Cardinal” was originally published in The Atlantic as “Cardinal.”

13 July 2012 | poetry |