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April 30, 2009

0618942726_hres

Extract from The Door by Margaret Atwood. . .
SOR JUANA WORKS IN THE GARDEN
Time for gardening again; for poetry; for arms
up to the elbows in leftover
deluge, hands in the dirt, groping around
among the rootlets, bulbs, lost marbles, blind
snouts of worms, cat droppings, your own future
bones, whatever’s down there
supercharged, a dim glint in the darkness.
When you stand on bare earth in your bare feet
and the lightning whips through you, two ways
at once, they say you are grounded,
and that’s what poetry is: a hot wire.
You might as well stick a fork
in a wall socket. So don’t think it’s just about flowers.
Though it is, in a way.
You spent this morning among the bloodsucking
perennials, the billowing peonies,
the lilies building to outburst,
the leaves of the foxgloves gleaming like hammered
copper, the static crackling among the spiny columbines.
Scissors, portentous trowel, the wheelbarrow
yellow and inert, the grassblades
whispering like ions. You think it wasn’t all working
up to something? You ought to have worn rubber
gloves. Thunder budding in the spires of lupins,
their clumps and updraughts, pollen and resurrection
unfolding from each restless nest
of petals. Your arms hum, the hair
stands up on them; just one touch and you’re struck.
It’s too late now, the earth splits open,
the dead rise, purblind and stumbling
in the clashing of last-day daily
sunlight, furred angels crawl
all over you like swarming bees, the maple
trees above you shed their deafening keys
to heaven, your exploding
syllables litter the lawn.

 

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