The Garden By Moonlight

If you scroll back far enough on my page with poems, you’ll find one by William Carlos Williams. It recently occurred to me that beside him and Ezra Pound, I really didn’t know many Imagist poets, even though I like this school of poetry. So, as any curious reader, I went looking. That’s how I found Amy Lowell. And to my surprise, I had already posted a poem by her, without knowing she was an Imagist. This American poet joined the Imagist school after travelling and meeting Ezra Pound. Something I’m quite thankful for because I love this poem. The peace of a dark garden by moonlight set against the scare of not being remembered when you’re gone. A clear and powerful image.

A black cat among roses,
Phlox, lilac-misted under a first-quarter moon,
The sweet smells of heliotrope and night-scented stock.
The garden is very still,   
It is dazed with moonlight,
Contented with perfume,
Dreaming the opium dreams of its folded poppies.
Firefly lights open and vanish   
High as the tip buds of the golden glow
Low as the sweet alyssum flowers at my feet.
Moon-shimmer on leaves and trellises,
Moon-spikes shafting through the snow ball bush.   
Only the little faces of the ladies’ delight are alert and staring,
Only the cat, padding between the roses,
Shakes a branch and breaks the chequered pattern
As water is broken by the falling of a leaf.
Then you come,
And you are quiet like the garden,
And white like the alyssum flowers,   
And beautiful as the silent sparks of the fireflies.
Ah, Beloved, do you see those orange lilies?
They knew my mother,
But who belonging to me will they know
When I am gone.

Amy Lowell


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