[Artemis speaks] The cornel-trees uplift from the furrows, the roots at their bases strike lower through the barley-sprays. So arise and face me. I am poisoned with the rage of song. I once pierced the flesh of the wild-deer, now am I afraid to touch the blue and the gold-veined hyacinths? I will tear the full flowers and the little heads of the grape-hyacinths. I will strip the life from the bulb until the ivory layers lie like narcissus petals on the black earth. Arise, lest I bend an ash-tree into a taut bow, and slay—and tear all the roots from the earth. The cornel-wood blazes and strikes through the barley-sprays, but I have lost heart for this. I break a staff. I break the tough branch. I know no light in the woods. I have lost pace with the winds.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on April 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Orion Dead” appeared in Some Imagist Poets: An Anthology (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1915).