Grasses

Alfred Kreymborg - 1883-1966
Who
would decry
instruments—
when grasses
ever so fragile,
provide strings
stout enough for
insect moods
to glide up and down
in glissandos
of toes along wires
or finger-tips on zithers—
   though
   the mere sounds
   be theirs, not ours—
   theirs, not ours,
   the first inspiration—
   discord 
   without resolution—
who 
would cry
being loved,
when even such tinkling
comes of the loving?

More by Alfred Kreymborg

Cezanne

Our door was shut to the noon-day heat.
We could not see him.
We might not have heard him either—
Resting, dozing, dreaming pleasantly.
But his step was tremendous—
Are mountains on the march?

He was no man who passed;
But a great faithful horse
Dragging a load
Up the hill.

The Tree

I am four monkeys.
One hangs from a limb,
tail-wise,
chattering at the earth;
another is cramming his belly with cocoanut;
the third is up in the top branches,
quizzing the sky,
and the fourth—
he's chasing another monkey.
How many monkeys are you?

Crocus

When trees have lost remembrance of the leaves
that spring bequeaths to summer, autumn weaves
and loosens mournfully — this dirge, to whom
does it belong — who treads the hidden loom?

When peaks are overwhelmed with snow and ice,
and clouds with crepe bedeck and shroud the skies — 
nor any sun or moon or star, it seems,
can wedge a path of light through such black dreams — 

All motion cold, and dead all traces thereof:
What sudden shock below, or spark above,
starts torrents raging down till rivers surge — 
that aid the first small crocus to emerge?

The earth will turn and spin and fairly soar,
that couldn't move a tortoise-foot before — 
and planets permeate the atmosphere
till misery depart and mystery clear! — 

And yet, so insignificant a hearse? — 
who gave it the endurance so to brave
such elements? — shove winter down a grave? — 
and then lead on again the universe?

Related Poems

Shaking the Grass

Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me
like red banty hens to catalpa limbs
and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking,
and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep.

I think about the field of grass I lay in once,
between Omaha and Lincoln.  It was summer, I think.
The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway,
a-sway, swayed over me.  I lay on green sod
like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me.

What does a girl think about alone
in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright
as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind?

Maybe I have not shaken the grass.
All is vanity.

Maybe I never rose from that green field.
All is vanity.

Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths
and spill them out into story:  all is vanity.

Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered,
spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem
and green lashes:  O my beloved!  O my beloved!

I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on.
Even the hollow my body made is gone.