poem AF, photograph LF, 2012

in Petrarch’s garden, after EP

   let no man
   hurt this tree
   that gave shade
   to the poet :

   rest in his

When I have the opportunity, I give a poem-label to a friend who is traveling, or sometimes I post them to friends overseas.

Lisa Jarnot’s biography of Robert Duncan persuaded me to go back to Pound’s Cantos; from there a phrase offered itself as a verse, which I give to Linda France, who was visiting gardens in Italy. When she told me these would include the garden at Petrarch's house in the Euganean Hills, I asked her to find a shady tree for this poem.

In Linda's latest post she has reached Singapore Botanic Gardens, where she is reminded that the word Zing comes from the botanical name for the Ginger family – Zingiberaceae – and that oppressive heat gives trees a use we sometimes forget in northerly climes.

   trees are
   for shade
   respite from
   the sun’s glare

I’ve written elsewhere about the shady bower I will make in Duke’s Wood. For now, staying with the poetic project that puts folds in the head, some more Petrarch. 


Zephiro torna, e ’l bel tempo rimena,
e i fiori et l’erbe, sua dolce famiglia,
et garrir Progne et pianger Philomena,
et primavera candida et vermiglia.

Ridono i prati, e ’l ciel si rasserena;
Giove s’allegra di mirar sua figlia;
l’aria et l’acqua et la terra è d’amor piena;
ogni animal d’amar si riconsiglia.

Ma per me, lasso, tornano i piú gravi
sospiri, che del cor profondo tragge
quella ch’al ciel se ne portò le chiavi;

et cantar augelletti, et fiorir piagge,
e ’n belle donne honeste atti soavi
sono un deserto, et fere aspre et selvagge.

Tim Atkins’s wordly-sigh is faithless to the same poem; Tim has shade, stretching into the suburbs & Odeons, but he does not rest in shadow. His Horace and Petrarch are, to me, most vibrant poems of now.


It was the golden age of homosexuality 
Chairman Mao taking the buffaloes for a stroll
        in the tea-oil camellia groves by banana
        leaf-shade ponds between Heathrow & Slough
Creatures of the sun-loving world       vs
        the pale less resistant ones
Avatars of insufficient definition or
        relation     dressed in animal bird or cowboy forms
Head filled with poem until it was almost
        impossible not to trip over them     for example
Petrarch’s shift between       need to write
        fame       and singular woman
Alas!     My   Place   Is 
This     Fuck in this life
Surprise is all I have
I never learned
To turn quickly enough from
All that burns
Feeling each other up and liking each other
        terrifically all the way home from the Odeon

(Crater #6)

To close, another writer’s garden: among the apples at Shandy Hall, Alison Lloyd tied this poem for me, after Sterne.

poem AF, photograph AL, Shandy Hall, 2011


   fall by
   the clock

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