In the environs of the funeral home
The smell of death was absent. All there was
Was flowers rioting, the odors blown
Palpable as a blossom into the face,
To be crushed, to overpower—as if the grass
Already covered the nostrils in that place.

Hyacinths, larkspur, irises, flags of summer
Freshening and quickening in the little
Dawn breeze, and opening to a bee’s clamor
The delicate parts, just now fragrantly ready,
And now beginning to die, the damp petal
Swaying a little with the weight of the bee’s body—

Let them cut these flowers. Let them be ruddy
And sunlit gold and white and let them be
Heaped up and overflowing over the body
Waiting to be put down. To be unborn.
Something is sprouting in dark mahogany
Out of them—edged, and shining like a thorn.



From Collected Poems, 1952–1999. Copyright © 2000 by Robert Mezey.
Published by University of Arkansas Press. Reprinted by permission of the