Atomic Gardening—

Adam Strauss

For Octavio Paz

      Andrew Marvell

      John Milton


The “mind has mountains—cliffs of fall”; I feel a roiling at

                                                                              My throat.

                                        Dear what are you doing in those mountains?

          Mist mosaics but pierces through touches pines

                                             Not a wall adored by no more than

The marks of its making—maybe a Ming vase smashed

                                                                             By a king or

                                                                         A man walks down a Mayan

                                                                   Temple a full moon lights


                                 Manifesting his interior—


I do not know whether it’s better to swim or sink

Like “stirred up flakes of sediment”—sentiment?—something valuable prints and

                                                                                                                    Time friezes;


Magnetizes: my mind examines minutest filigrees—follicles



         Me aware of my freedom—from here to there


Across greens—gardens—

                                                              In ironies’ growth


                               We grow closer to each other—

                                                        Reside in

                                                            The heart

Articulates edge

        Crossing indeterminable easy to describe as

                                Existence’s “essential primitive”

Persuades like ants in adamant; cowslips and rhododendrons:

Our town’s most miraculous marge; beauty has me myself for breakfast:

                                                                           Almost not hungry from the Predawn spread of blues

                              Affording fine views—electric


Field finds you through its supple windings

                               Take wing and we whoosh down winnowed


                                To instinct: attuned to wind’s

Window upon the world


And I’m left

This very moment with


                           The” at the


Circumference of central-most musing—

 Language at-hand defines as forking

                           Forth from a “universe’s fracture”

                                            Manufactures force


                           “Done perfecter

                                               In stone”

According to the weather; eyes open and


                                                  Close on a scene we can


Alter the course of: love

                          Lies coursing through every person

                               Whether they’re the first second or third


Time walking around a lake

As if infinity isn’t fine. 


                         Firmaments fix every fin

                               Into a finish

Rhapsodically flickers; somewhere sun sparkles a lioness’ whisker-tips

Brush against toothsome green as she crops

                               A salad-cinctured rock

                      Ringed like a moon


Shines on teeth shred fleet flanks.

                               I substitutes farandoles for foibles and

                      Fumble into flashing off:


A bird from a “Burning Bush Shrub” or


A dash and why do I (it’s April)

Write a scene out of season

Displacing us

From where we’ve



                                     If every moment’s a springing

                                                                      Then April flowers 


                    May have something to do with icy sods—“My god

                                           What is a heart?”

                    But to sing an America beautifully pied;

                                    As a red-blooded American I’m proud to say my

                    Thought’s the bride of oh what lovely thinking;

 Does I want to move to its heartland and shack up with a country stud

                                                                         Mean I’m in love with its generic culture

                                                   And don’t really dig difference or

Does existence embody difference?

                   Please let us glide

                                                               Out of here to have a roof as high as sky

                                                 Thunder drops

                                  A garden                        growing

Through the droppings of many fine sets of wings—an angle

                  Of descent into a zone whose every shade

                                     Completes a sight till it’s bright—

Tonight oranges—look at their ambergris aureoles!—are the globes

                                                                                  That compass my ken

                                                          Unless you insist it’s my earlobes;

                                                 The aesthetic I’m in the heartthrob of

                                                                                                        Doesn’t allow me

To cite a banal but related memory

Blessedly rhymes with we


                                                      Walk across a grove; sticking to it      


                    This cross-country train of thought comes to chaos: sometimes “in a landscape of Having to repeat” 


                                                Makes redaction

              Which isn’t to say but is


I’m not a Dane prince

Though one lovely Bloom writes he and  E. D.

                                                                     Can win any

Argument but with themselves;       

                           Should the same be said of me

Disturbs the littlest bit and leastwise this


Azalea curling around a fence

          Dividing manicured from a glade

                   Seeps with your every step

                            Pressing till cells beat into blood’s marrowy birthplace

And the interior originates the exterior:


Only then does your brain


                  As if it’s

                                    “Emptied some dull opiate to the drains”

         Begin addressing what we’re going through—how marvelous to turn out in another                        


                                 Hemisphere where it’s fall.

Reality is “an effort of affection” so

                                                    If there’s little effort

                                                    One’s left with little’s real

                                                    Or the right’s election?

I don’t believe hierarchies are right:

                                               Why live perpetually night

                 Instead of the full store spread of daylight

In which there are so many ways to see—

                              Not even such grandeur as our moon

To circumscribe sight:

Yes you have a point it’s

Always under threat of seeing;

Adam take away thy vale: see the value of a thing

Itself here-now not the very of visionary;

Tarry awhile said slow;

Sure why not I’ve nowhere to go

Than the world which is everywhere.






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