Pick-a-Poem: Pattiann Rogers


Good morning, readers, and welcome to another pick-a-poem post. I hope you’re all having a lovely week and that this bit of Hump Day poetry only serves to make it better. As always, this week’s poem comes from Poetry Daily, which is a really smashing resource for daily poetry if that’s what you’re looking for. This week we feature Holy Heathen Rhapsody, by Pattiann Rogers. This poem has an amazing title and some really interesting images, so I hope you like it.

According to her page on Poetry Daily, Pattiann Rogers “has published eleven books of poetry and two collections of essays. Her most recent books are The Grand Array: Writings on Nature, Science, and Spirit (Trinity University Press, 2010) and Wayfare (Penguin, 2008). She is the recipient of two NEA grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Lannan Literary Award for poetry. She lives in Colorado.”

Holy Heathen Rhapsody, by Pattiann Rogers

As if underwater, she floats and shimmies
slowly upward while the sun warms. She pauses
to sink again through the green and deeper
green garden leaves of this single tree,
its edifice all of Eden, earth and paradise,
slender branches bending and flowing
with the morning currents.

Summer lolls, lingers in its own mazes,
a white-limbed poplar, leafstalks, peel
of scented bark. Her body—seed wing
or feather down, thread slivers of silk—
touches each curled lobe and creviced branch
as she passes, slides underside, overside,
along the ridges and furrows. (Is that a tiny
tongue finding the way?) Love is this sun-
holding tree of lapping leaves, delves,
canopies, a multi-tangled cover.

A spasm of breeze, the tree shivers, each leaf
twisting white flash/green shadow. By will
or wind, she moves stemward toward the steady
trunk, following fissure and tangent, rests
finally folded in a woody niche. Who could
know better? Regard the celestial; the sky
is not shelter.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem. For more posts like this, check out our archives.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan


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