Arts and Activism
Arts and Education
by Pattiann Rogers
I wish something slow and gentle and good
Would happen to me, a patient and prolonged
Kind of happiness coming in the same way evening
Comes to a wide-branched sycamore standing
In an empty field; each branch, not succumbing,
Not taken, but feeling its entire existence
A willing revolution of cells; even asleep,
Feeling a decision of gold spreading
Over its ragged bark and motionless knots of seed,
Over every naked, vulnerable juncture; each leaf
Becoming a lavender shell, a stem-deep line
Of violet turning slowly and carefully to possess exactly
The pale and patient color of the sky coming.
I wish something that slow and that patient
Would come to me, maybe like the happiness
Growing when the lover's hand, easy on the thigh
Or easy on the breast, moves like late light moves
Over the branches of a sycamore, causing
A slow revolution of decision in the body;
Even asleep, feeling the spread of hazy coral
And ivory-grey rising through the legs and spine
To alter the belief behind the eyes; feeling the slow
Turn of wave after wave of acquiescence moving
From the inner throat to the radiance of a gold belly
To a bone center of purple; an easy, slow-turning
Happiness of possession like that, prolonged.
I wish something that gentle and that careful
And that patient would come to me. Death
Might be that way if one knew how to wait for it,
If death came easily and slowly,
If death were good.
Pattiann Rogers has published six books of poetry, including Firekeeper: New and Selected Poems, and her most recent collection Eating Bread and Honey, both published by Milkweed Editions. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Poetry Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. She lives in Castle Rock, Colorado. For more information about Pattiann, please visit her website. Pattiann is a regular participant in The Orion Society's Forgotten Language Tour.
If you'd like to order these books (and others), please visit The Orion Society Bookstore.
This poem was originally published in the Autumn 1994 issue of Orion. To order a copy of this issue, please visit The Orion Society Marketplace, call (413) 528-4422, write The Orion Society, 195 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230, or e-mail us at email@example.com.
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