not a pretty picture. not a good. not a bad. picture. but an argument.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

poppies vi, some things that poppies don't know

i collect things. and for a time i keep them. i have a difficult time letting go of feathers or bark, stones or flowers. and so when the poppy shed her wings weeks ago i collected them from the floor where they had fallen. overwhelmed with their flesh in my hands i put them blindly to a book so that some day i might happen upon them again and again and be overwhelmed by them.

while looking for feathers yesterday that i stowed away for safe keeping in february (and can not find - for who knows which book i hid those in?) surprisingly i came across the petals in Seamus Heaney's Seeing Things, crammed between two (almost) sonnets, one in particular about childhood and our capacity for violence.

from Squarings, xxi, by Seamus Heaney

Once and only once I fired a gun –
A .22. At a square of handkerchief
Pinned on a tree about sixty yards away.

It exhilarated me – the bullet’s song
So effortlessly at my fingertip,
The target’s single shocking little jerk,

A whole new quickened sense of what rifle meant
And then again as it was in the beginning
I saw the soul like a white cloth snatched away

Across dark galaxies and felt that shot
For the sin it was against eternal life –
Another phrase dilating in new light.

The Sacred – Blown Apart

because i couldn't accept that what was was enough
i picked them up from the floor, errant, shed poppy feathers – 
flesh, and stuck them blindly into a book,
just as rifles are stuck (sometimes) into the crux of stories –
unwanted, barrels to mouths like cocks, just as cocks are stuffed
(sometimes) to mouths or otherwise locations – unwanted,
these purveyors of love and war, sleeping weapons shod upon the body
always slightly stirring.

it is so complicated, isn't it, this stuff we humans are made of?

heaney writes – rifle, and lays the word like a gun to its rack
which gets locked upon my bookshelf in his book,
perhaps sleeping but always stirring
inside the poem which might just save us,

and there it lies – rifle, now glittering with poppy gore,
the poem wielded at long last, vested in fresh blood.


  1. Intéressant, ce carambolage poétique et ce choix du au hasard qui permet à ces pétales de coquelicots de se charger de mystère au contact de ces œuvres. Nul doute qu'un échange se fera entre elles dont nous ne saurons jamais évaluer la portée.

    Amitiés sincères et amicales.


  2. so beautiful words, and the poem, and photos also, every gesture from this post has its individual meaning,like a curtain fluttering near the window, near a bouquet of poppies. and the poppies are alive, like our thoughts in our blood. but i think that every word of mine is true and in the same time pointless after that rifle, when is so quiet everything that breath seems the only thing that we have-it seems, how i said.
    i'm thinking now how petals of poppies impregnate the poem - and reverse, in those books that tell stories like a white cloth.and my hands are white and red ,in this amazing simultaneity...

  3. herlig serie , det liker jeg !

  4. These pictures are so poetic !!

  5. The poppies look like they belong there with that amazing poem. Last week I found some heart-shaped leaves I'd tucked into an old book with some lavender. They were perfect for decoupage. Oh, I could write a book about the things I've found in used books: letters, receipts, train tickets, notes...wonderful stuff for a poet. Smile. My fav of all time was a 1940's edition of "The Wasteland" by T. S. Eliot and an old man with a shaky hand made notes with pages numbers next to them. His bookmark was a piece of a train ticket which was dated. Each time I pick up that tattered book, I imagine that man's life and how his book ended up in my hands...I do love life's mysteries. Blessings!! xo


"Words at the limit of hearing, attributable to no one, received in the conch of the ear like dew by a leaf." (philippe jaccottet) or even a quiet presence is appreciated))