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Collected Poems

The Enchanted Garden

The Enchanted Garden

This is the garden. Here, my son,
where bats at nightfall flit,
their leaves unfolding one by one
the books you read were writ.

This is the garden of the mind,
a lovesome thing, God wot,
with fleurs du mat incarnadined
in many an earthy plot.

Here metaphor and tense, mixed herbs,
grow wild. Through moon-mad hours
loose substantives, irregular verbs
make love in secret bowers.

page 138

The double entendre is often found,
its fragrance fresh, or rank;
periphrasis grows here, and round
ellipses, bank on bank.

Tautologies are thick beyond
the winding terrace path,
and in the stagnant lyly-pond
plump Euphues takes his bath.

Like boats to their reflections moored
narcissi gaze, and yearn,
and beds of pansies, well-manured,
flourish at every turn.

In winter dusk two marble fauns,
their usage long decayed,
frolic with migrant leprechauns
on syntax crazy-laid.

Hyperbole is here in flower,
rampant beside the wall;
its fruits, one sweet to fifty sour,
upon the flat earth fall.

The ironic ha-ha sets a bound
ignored by those who climb
into the orchard, where are found
strange fruits, all glittering rime.

Here on the lawn where shadows creep
beneath the waning moon,
the worm casts up his dungy heap,
the critic chirps his tune.
On laurel-leaf and budding rose
the caterpillar climbs
and once a week in nibbling prose
commits his venal crimes.

Beneath the broken trellis-work
where catachresis trails
the academic blackbirds lurk
to pick up slugs and snails.

page 139

And over there, where nightshade grows,
beyond that earthy mound,
a well is to be found, which goes
deep, deep into the ground.

Its denizens are frogs and newts
and things with twisted tails
that men with snarls and owl-like hoots
dredge up in wooden pails.