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Friday, 4 June 2010

James Schuyler: Cornflowers

File:XN Centaurea cyanus 02.jpg

After the stormy night:
the crack of lightning and
the thunder peals (one bolt
fell in my street!)
the cornflowers (or are they
bachelor's buttons?) stand,
ragged scraps of sky, in
a shrimp-cocktail glass on
thin green stems with thin
green leaves, so blue, so blue
azure as sky-blue eyes
the cornflowers (I wish
I were wading through a
field where they bloom)
tattered tales of my life.

File:XN Centaurea cyanus 01.jpg

James Schuyler: Cornflowers, from A Few Days (1985)

Centaurea cyanus and chamomile in a field of barleycorn, Munster, NRW, Germany
: photos by Guido Gerding, 2006


Marcia said...

Thank you, Tom, for another lovely Schuyler poem accompanied by stunning photos. Your last Schuyler posting of Salute prompted me to take Schuyler's The Morning of the Poem off the shelf. There I found the delightful "Footnote" -- the poem about the bluet. In it, he mentions his own poem "The Bluet" and Joan Mitchell's painting "The Bluet." What fun to follow the trail, thanks to your posting.

This spring flowers have filled our lives in Texas. First, glorious fields of bluebonnets; then yellow flowers -- all the while road sides lined with all kinds of blooms. (Thanks to Lady Bird)

You've made the week brighter with bringing Schuyler's back into my life -- his delight of nature and his daily happenings, shining light on a dark time of oil spewing into the Gulf and ruined futures of humans and wildlife.


TC said...


It was your (and of course Schuyler's) wildflowering that prompted this post -- along with the wish for a moment of light and uplift, amid or apart from the oppressive thought of that enveloping slick.



Beautiful Jimmy -- shows us what attention to things (and feeling) might be. Please keep these dispatches coming.

TC said...

Amazing how simple things (and feelings, those other "things") become when one pays a bit of attention, and how complicated it always seems to be to get oneself into the attention frame. Jimmy appears to be able to get there at will.

Illusions of ease are wonderful as well. said...

Hi Tom, A propos floral counterpoint and clarity
and Jimmy's flowers (I'm not exactly an unbiased
observer here!), I'm reminded of that late poem of his,"Horse-Chestnut Trees and Roses", (delineating all the extraordinary names of all the various breeds -"darkly brooding Prince Camille de Rohan, on/which, out of a cloudless sky, a miraculous rain/once fell.."- "(the) smallest, most delicate, delectable/of all, Rose de Meaux.." etc, etc - and the denouement of the poem: "I went by there Sunday last and they're gone, all/gone, uprooted, supplanted by a hateful "foundation planting" of dinky conifers.." etc Interestingly, the version in the Collected Poems (my copy at least) omits the crucial final line - three scathing words (with continuing resonance these days) - "Odious hateful vandal"

TC said...


My bias embraces your bias.

(Evidently trying to horn in on your happy union, re. which, great congrats!)

Re. (slight?) wicked streak:

"The day Robert Kennedy died, a
green and evil worm crawled out of a bud. I killed
it, a gardening Sirhan Sirhan."

That does remain in the poem, though my copy, presumably identical with yours, omits the Odious hateful vandal.

. said...

That second picture is quite magical, Tom - leaves pointing the way...why don't we listen to them ?!

TC said...


Lovely of you to notice that leafy directive to the processional (which expands beautifully upon clicking -- regretted having to crop the airy breadth of those fields).

Anonymous said...

lovely....and stunning photos...yes!