Flax
 
Blue-eyed grass,

your small flower
reminds me of the eyes
of the Prussian family
my Bavarian grandfather
married into in
southern Indiana.

When my Franconian
forefathers watched
you bloom like a clear
sky just above the ground
they cultivated for
the Prince-Bishops
of baroque Würzburg

they must have
daydreamed of that
blue-sky paradise
they'd heard about
across an ocean
they'd never seen.

In the winter when
they couldn't hire
themselves out to work
other men's land

they sat a wall away
from their animals
in a dark cottage
in the hilltop village
of Hesslar high
above the Main River

and wove durable linen
out of the thread
their women had spun
from the fibers of
your delicate stem.

Out of these blue-
eye associations
I have with a father
who never saw that
Old World village

and a grass I neither
see nor touch here
on Whitman's Long Island
I weave this New World song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

from Blue-Eyed Grass: Poems of Germany.
View Cover and Table of Contents

 


 
Copyright Time Being Press, reprinted with permission
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