Philosophical Flowers

By RICHIE HOFMANN

 

The streets are named for German poets
in my huge provincial Midwestern city.
Dust whirls up from the tires of passing cars,
lifting a veil over me, like Romantic longing. On Goethe, I want nothing 
more than to reach down and feel a lover’s big skull
in my hands. On Schiller, lust subsides, among the wrought iron
doors and grand steps, lined with hundreds of dollars of candles. 
Inside, patricians mingle in the high-minded friendships
I desire for myself. About this, as so much else,
the flowers in the window-boxes on Schiller are philosophical.
Their arguments are convoluted, but concern the beauty of simplicity, freedom from need,
and, even more often, the depredations of time.
One fat peony speaks as if she were the Sybil:
“Live with your century but do not be its creature.”

 

[Purchase Issue 17 here.]

 

Richie Hofmann is the author of a collection of poems, Second Empireand is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University.

Philosophical Flowers

Related Posts

Headshot of Oliver de la Paz

Poetry-Making as Empathy Play: An Interview with Oliver de la Paz

OLIVER DE LA PAZ
I had just come to terms with the realization that I had been writing about my neurodiverse kids, but through the mask of the Theseus and the Minotaur allusion. That’s when I started messing about with other shapes and structures, like mathematical equations and multiple choice questions.

Image of apple

Roya Zarrin: Three Persian Poems in Translation

ROYA ZARRIN
Did you hear? / They're calling me / from my northern gardens, with the scent of rice, / and from southern gardens, with the scent of revelation trees. / Forget water justice. / Don’t follow me. / Today I’m bitter, Obadiah. / Today is the feast of sacrifice ...

Yard

January 2020 Poetry Feature

MARCUS SCOTT WILLIAMS
iont remember my impressions before we installed the white picket-fence around the yard, but i like it now, makes the yard feel smaller, surrounding you like a bear hug. i know this yard. water balloon fights where balloons don’t satisfy-pop, jarring lightning bugs ...