21 April 2013

Billy's Roses

Williams, Kora in Hell, from XXIV:

Carelessness of heart is a virtue akin to the small lights of
the stars. But it is sad to see virtues in those who have not the
gift of the imagination to value them.

Damn me I feel sorry for them. Yet syphilis is no more
than a wild pink in the rock s cleft. I know that. Radicals and
capitalists doing a can-can tread the ground clean. Luck to the
feet then. Bring a Russian to put a fringe to the rhythm. What s
the odds? Commiseration cannot solve calculus. Calculus is a
stone. Frost ll crack it. Till then, there s many a good back-
road among the clean raked fields of hell where autumn flowers
are blossoming.

Pathology literally speaking is a flower garden. Syphilis
covers the body with salmon-red petals. The study of medicine
is an inverted sort of horticulture. Over and above all this floats
the philosophy of disease which is a stern dance. One of its
most delightful gestures is bringing flowers to the sick.


Williams, Spring and All, poem VII:

The rose is obsolete
but each petal ends in
an edge, the double facet
cementing the grooved
columns of air--The edge
cuts without cutting
itself in metal or porcelain--

whither? It ends--

But if it ends
the start is begun
so that to engage roses
becomes a geometry--

Sharper, neater, more cutting
figured in majolica--
the broken plate
glazed with a rose

Somewhere the sense
makes copper roses
steel roses--

The rose carried weight of love
but love is at an end--of roses

It is at the edge of the
petal that love waits

Crisp, worked to defeat
plucked, moist, half-raised
cold, precise, touching


The place between the petal's
edge and the

From the petal's edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact--lifting
from it--neither hanging
nor pushing--

The fragility of the flower
penetrates space

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