8 Feb
Posted in: Poems
By    Comments Off on Instead, Stand Still and Listen

Instead, Stand Still and Listen

garden-partyI can’t seem to get enough Tony Hoagland these days. Like this excerpt from Social Life:

What I like about trees is how
they do not talk about the failure of their parents
and what I like about grasses is that
they are not grasses in recovery

and what I like about the flowers is
that they are not flowers in need of
empowerment or validation. They sway

upon their thorny stems
as if whatever was about to happen next tonight
was sure to be completely interesting–

the moon rising like an ivory tusk,
a few sextillion molecules of skunk
strolling through the air
to mingle with the aura of a honeysuckle bush,

and when they bump together in my nose,
I want to raise my head and sing,
I’m a child in paradise again
when you touch me like that, baby,

but instead, I stand still and listen
to the breeze streaming through the upper story of a tree
and the hum of insects in the field,
letting everything else have a word,

and then another word–
because silence is always good manners
and often a clever thing to say
when you are at a party.

Comments are closed.