To rhyme their orange is impossible,
These lilies willowing in summer air
Atop their string-thin scapes. Perennial,
Yet one succeeds another overnight,
Each day a new example of a flare
Whose gaudy, deep dye would embarrass bright.
No vaudeville juggler ever got this far:
To make each spinning plate a frozen star
Swaying in the breeze almost forever.
See how they hold themselves? They are so clever.
Their orange tepals—constant for a while—
Now tip, now bend and bow, but bending, never
Yield to their weight, and are never servile
Enough to disavow the thing they are.
Len Krisak’s two most recent books are After Image (original poems) and Rilke’s New Poems, 1907 (a complete translation). With work in the Hudson, Sewanee, Southwest, and Antioch Reviews, he is the recipient of the Robert Penn Warren, Richard Wilbur, and Robert Frost Prizes, and a four-time champion on Jeopardy!