"Iris"

"Iris"

"Iris"

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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 21 2003 12:35 PM

Iris

Listen to Alan Shapiro reading this poem. Love flower of the middle-aged, The interanimating pain And beauty in the way the stalk Bends under the unexpected weight Of the still uncrumpling gaudy tissue Of the newest blossom                                 while the lower blossoms like a ghostly time lapse in reverse appear to shrivel into themselves and turn away forlorn before they fall, the way the snapshot fell from its sleeve into her lap,                  and there she was, my new love with her old love years before beside a lake with blue hills in the distance rolling down to bluer water, and there they were, the lovers, naked, hand in hand, both smiling back                         at me a smile of joy so new, so mischievous you couldn't look at it and not believe no lovers ever gave themselves so freely to each other. The flower bends under the blossom's weight; it trembles, bending                                         it almost seems           to hold it up, as if to hold it there forever, its one and only darling, honey child, how did I ever live without you? How could I ever let you go?

Alan Shapiro will publish two books in 2011: Night of the Republic, a book of poems, and Broadway Baby, a novel. His last book of poems, Old War, won the 2009 Ambassador Book Award in poetry.