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Monday, May 17, 2010

love this poem

The Dragon

The bees came out of the junipers, two small swarms
The size of melons; and golden, too like melons,
They hung next to each other, at the height of a deer’s breast
Above the wet black compost. And because
The light was very bright it was hard to see them,
And harder still to see what hung between them.
A snake hung between them. The bees held up a snake,
Lifting each side of his narrow neck, just below
The pointed head, and in this way, very slowly
They carried the snake through the garden,
The snake’s long body hanging down, its tail dragging
The ground, as if the creature were a criminal
Being escorted to execution or a child king
To the throne. I kept thinking the snake
Might be a hose, held by two ghostly hands,
But the snake was a snake, his body green as the grass
His tail divided, his skin oiled, the way the male member
Is oiled by the female’s juices, the greenness overbright,
The bees gold, the winged serpent moving silently
Through the air. There was something deadly in it,
Or already dead. Something beyond the report
Of beauty. I laid my face against my arm, and there
It stayed for the length of time it takes two swarms
Of bees to carry a snake through a wide garden,
Past a sleeping swan, past the dead roses nailed
To the wall, past the small pond. And when
I looked up the bees and the snake were gone,
But the garden smelled of broken fruit, and across
the grass a shadow lay for which there was no source,
A narrow plinth dividing the garden, and the air
Was like the air after a fire, or before a storm,
Ungodly still, but full of shapes turning.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly


C. Dale said...

I remember going to my mailbox at my first apartment in San Francisco nd finding a letter from BPK. Inside the envelope was this poem. I read it on the spot, standing in the lobby of my building. I accepted it for NER immediately. One poem. Nothing else. It is still amazing.

Matthew said...

I love love love this poem too. The only (small) qualm I have is that the original version from NER ended on "full of dark shapes turning," whereas in the book version "dark" has been cut.

That word seems important to me. I suppose it could just be that I'm attached to what I first saw, like a goose and it's mother or something.

Either way, the poem is still fabulous. Glad you posted it.