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About this Poem 

"The poem takes a phrase ('C’est l’olive pâmée, et la flûte câline') from an obscene parody of Albert Mérat by Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine ('Sonnet du trou du cul') and develops it into an erotic poem. Now the body of the body becomes a sacred site, a Greek island."
Edward Hirsch

A Greek Island

Edward Hirsch, 1950

Traveling over your body I found

The failing olive and the cajoling flute,

Where I knelt down, as if in prayer,

And sucked a moist pit

From the marl

Of the earth in a sacred cove.


You gave yourself to the god who comes,

The liberator of the loud shout,

While I fell into a trance,

Blood on my lips,

And stumbled into a temple on top

Of a hill at the bottom of the sky.

Copyright © 2013 by Edward Hirsch. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 25, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Edward Hirsch

Edward Hirsch

Born in Chicago on January 20, 1950, Edward Hirsch is a poet and literary advocate. His second collection, Wild Gratitude (Knopf, 1986), received the National Book Critics Circle Award

by this poet

poem
Lay these words into the dead man's grave
next to the almonds and black cherries---
tiny skulls and flowering blood-drops, eyes,
and Thou, O bitterness that pillows his head.

Lay these words on the dead man's eyelids
like eyebrights, like medieval trumpet flowers
that will flourish, this time, in the shade.
Let
poem
My father in the night shuffling from room to room
on an obscure mission through the hallway.

Help me, spirits, to penetrate his dream
and ease his restless passage.

Lay back the darkness for a salesman
who could charm everything but the shadows,

an immigrant who stands on the threshold
of a vast night
poem
I am so small walking on the beach 
at night under the widening sky. 
The wet sand quickens beneath my feet 
and the waves thunder against the shore. 

I am moving away from the boardwalk 
with its colorful streamers of people 
and the hotels with their blinking lights. 
The wind sighs for hundreds of miles. 

I