Old Glories

Too much as they are to be changed by metaphor,
Too actual, things that in being real
Make any imaginings of them lesser things

Here I give you a picture; a still life
solid with the weight of all dimensions.
An old rose bowl

etched and leaded the glass, dense with design.
Diamond cuts accumulating sunlight
casting off prisms

with petal hues that mark the table-top.
Polished and jungle dark, mahogany
mirroring roses

Gloire de Dijons, picked fresh at morning light
pin-tucked cups, brim-full of fruity fragrance.
All the staged ages

mingling apricot creams, pinks tinted gold.
Already I hear a lexicon stir
in praise of glory

the glory of old roses, soon over
but it’s really desire for sensation
a love of Romance.

For her poetics prompt, Concrete or Abstract? Ingrid asks us to write a concrete poem, one devoid of abstract subject matter and imagery. I do not think I achieved this here but it is a worthy exercise to exorcise Romantic tendencies sometimes!
Note: The epigraph is from Wallace Stevens’ poem: ‘Bouquet of Roses in Sunlight’ which at first sight reads like a concrete poem but on further analysis the poet seems to be saying that we can never truly experience the concreteness of roses because our senses transform them as much as an abstraction of them might, though differently. See the full poem with an excellent critique by Gray Jacobik

37 thoughts on “Old Glories

  1. You chose the perfect poem to illustrate the difficulty of finding any object truly concrete, and then made a wonderful composition of your own. I love:

    ‘Polished and jungle dark, mahogany
    mirroring roses’

    – I felt as though I was back in my grandmother’s house as a child. What poet does not have a love of romance after all, however we might disguise it behind concrete images?

    1. this was quite a struggle to steer a concrete path – the Stevens poem both hindered and helped! thank you for the prompt Ingrid and am happy to hear some of these words resonated with you

  2. I love this, it is the perfect description of a still life, which in itself is such an interesting subject. The poem fills my mind with the sounds of a ticking clock and the scents of an old house.

  3. Oh those diamond cuts! 😍 This is such a richly woven concrete poem, Laura! I love how it urges me to delve deeper into contemplation regarding the picture and how my own vocabulary yearns to sift the poem’s depth with words of praise. Sigh… just love it! 💝💝

    1. you’ve nailed it Ron – if it’s touchable it’s probably concrete which means that if its ‘touching’ it could well be abstract ? 😉

  4. How beautifully you paint the picture, perfect words from your palette.

  5. The still life is always a reflection of the past, and attempt to capture a moment in time. Your words distill that feeling well. I can both see it and feel it. (K)

  6. Love the detailed description of An old rose bowl, ending with the description of old roses and romance. This is a perfect example of the prompt – you made the still life, come alive.

    1. thanks Dwight – I do not have the rose bowl, the mahogany table or the big house to go with it – the older I become, the less things I want around me

  7. This touched me Laura. It was just yesterday that I unwrapped my mother’s pretty lead crystal rose bowl. She grew such beautiful roses and they would fill this bowl nd it would look so pretty.

    Gloire de Dijons, picked fresh at morning light
    pin-tucked cups brim-full of fruity fragrance.
    All the staged ages

    Beautiful! ☺️💕

  8. In addition to the wonderful sensory imagery, this poem has a good “mouth feel”– you want to read it out loud!

    1. p.s. I used 10 syllable lines for the first two of each stanza (and halved it for the third) which is said to be like actual speech, a person engaging others

  9. A lovely description of bygone beauty and also beauty that stands the test of time. I particularly enjoyed these lines:
    “…dense with design.
    Diamond cuts accumulating sunlight
    casting off prisms.”
    🙂

  10. Already I hear a lexicon stir
    in praise of glory

    the glory of old roses, soon over

    Your colorful imagery floors me, Laura.


    David

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