The White Words
Houghton Mifflin Company
The Spirit That Speaks
The spirit that speaks in the iris
Exclaiming at length a poise of blossom
Is not spirit but laborious congruence,
A stiff dance, the shy shop girl
Falling in love with a handsome stranger.
A credulous event, too minute
To represent that reductive will invoked
By unnerved lecturers; an enterprise, not an answer,
With no goal unless repetition were a goal,
Feet moving because they were feet,
Possibility like a child leery of water
Waddling eon-slow toward the edge
Of the pond of being. Remove the iris and the world
Goes, a zeppelin ripped and plummeting,
All the industrious captains staring out
The widening portholes, wondering for the first time,
As birds and baggage fly by, if
Existence is, after all, a passive tumult,
An unprincipled verb, a blind man’s certainty.
All this, and more, is what the iris would not tell me.