Skip to Content

Fleur-de-Lis

The King of France
With twenty-thousand men
Marched up the hill
And then marched down again.

A good botanical drawing
pares life along the vertical,
discovers, en bas, in the loam,
the cellars of the well-provisioned home,
systems of life support, the privy sources.

In the fenestered stem, regard,
the cellular carefulness, the reed within
tensed for the pressured up-push.
Sap is the syrup of the sense of self;
flower, its fountain finally made flesh.

Every hair in place erects
feeling for the insect God wishes
to flower on this flower,
pulsate, bumble, wade his knees
in golden powder till the slightest breeze
can knock him roaring nectared from his sling
dragging those softest saffron socks of rape.

The French comprehend.
How they eat, ravishing. How they drink,
breathing, licking, tasting. how they love,
braiding a third life in with work
and generation, cinq a sept.
How they betray, forsake, forget.

©1974, alicejamesbooks