Cactus Seed

Lola Ridge 1873 – 1941

Radiant notes piercing my narrow-chested room, beating down through my ceiling— smeared with unshapen belly-prints of dreams drifted out of old smokes— trillions of icily peltering notes out of just one canary, all grown to song as a plant to its stalk, from too long craning at a sky-light and a square of second-hand blue.

  Silvery-strident throat—
  so assiduously serenading my brain,
  flinching under
  the glittering hail of your notes—
  were you not safe behind… rats know what thickness of… plastered wall…
  I might fathom
  your golden delirium
  with throttle of finger and thumb
  shutting valve of bright song.

II

  But if… away off… on a fork of grassed earth
  socketing an inlet reach of blue water…
  if canaries (do they sing out of cages?)
  flung such luminous notes,
  they would sink in the spirit…
  lie germinal…
  housed in the soul as a seed in the earth…
  to break forth at spring with the crocuses into young smiles
  on the mouth.
  Or glancing off buoyantly,
  radiate notes in one key
  with the sparkle of rain-drops
  on the petal of a cactus flower
  focusing the just-out sun.
Cactus… why cactus? God… God… somewhere… away off… cactus flowers, star-yellow ray out of spiked green, and empties of sky roll you over and over like a mother her baby in long grass. And only the wind scandal-mongers with gum trees, pricking multiple leaves at his amazing story.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Lola Ridge

Lola Ridge was an anarchist poet and an influential editor of avant-garde feminist and Marxist publications best remembered for her long poems and poetic sequences She along with other political poets of the early Modernist period has been coming under increasing critical scrutiny at the beginning of the twenty-first century more…

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    "Cactus Seed" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 23 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/25888/cactus-seed>.

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