Until Lilies Overpower
When we made our pact,
lilies bloomed from my hands.
I laid them on the graves
of dead lovers.
You were to come
in the spring,
wade with me in the seas
where Vikings once sailed,
kiss my breasts until the sun glinted
pink off the morning waters, but
I grow old waiting, love.
My legs are pillars of salt.
The lilies have dried up
and long blown away.
The sea snarls under my toes.
Only in my dreams
do I see you, bearing gifts
of pale luminous gowns
and bright bangles to spoil me.
You lay your body across
mine until an early tide moans,
and I wake suddenly, the scent
of lilies overpowering.
This poem took third place in the May 2004 PBL intraboard
competitions and received this comment from judge, Jim Zola:
I liked the sense of the formal you get with this
poem. There is a nice mix ofthe romantic, the heroic and the surreal
that reminds me of Neruda with a touch of Rilke on the side. The
poem has a beautiful start that jumps from the surreal –
"lilies bloomed from my hands" – to the romantic – on
the graves/of dead lovers." I especially liked the last two
stanzas and the return to the flowers. When I read this poem I
thought of the line from Neruda’s Love Sonnet XI – "I want
to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body."
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