American Poetry 1922/Twenty-four Hokku on a Modern Theme

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American Poetry 1922
Twenty-four Hokku on a Modern Theme by Amy Lowell

TWENTY-FOUR HOKKU ON A MODERN THEME

I


Again the larkspur,
Heavenly blue in my garden.
They, at least, unchanged.

II


How have I hurt you?
You look at me with pale eyes,
But these are my tears.

III


Morning and evening—
Yet for us once long ago
Was no division.

IV


I hear many words.
Set an hour when I may come
Or remain silent.

V


In the ghostly dawn
I write new words for your ears—
Even now you sleep.


VI


This then is morning.
Have you no comfort for me
Cold-colored flowers?

VII


My eyes are weary
Following you everywhere.
Short, oh short, the days!

VIII


When the flower falls
The leaf is no more cherished.
Every day I fear.

IX


Even when you smile
Sorrow is behind your eyes.
Pity me, therefore.

X


Laugh—it is nothing.
To others you may seem gay,
I watch with grieved eyes.


XI


Take it, this white rose.
Stems of roses do not bleed;
Your fingers are safe.

XII


As a river-wind
Hurling clouds at a bright moon,
So am I to you.

XIII


Watching the iris,
The faint and fragile petals—
How am I worthy?

XIV


Down a red river
I drift in a broken skiff.
Are you then so brave?

XV


Night lies beside me
Chaste and cold as a sharp sword.
It and I alone.

XVI


Last night it rained.
Now, in the desolate dawn,
Crying of blue jays.


XVII


Foolish so to grieve,
Autumn has its colored leaves—
But before they turn?

XVIII


Afterwards I think:
Poppies bloom when it thunders.
Is this not enough?

XIX


Love is a game—yes?
I think it is a drowning:
Black willows and stars.

XX


When the aster fades
The creeper flaunts in crimson.
Always another!

XXI


Turning from the page,
Blind with a night of labor,
I hear morning crows.

XXII


A cloud of lilies,
Or else you walk before me.
Who could see clearly?


XXIII


Sweet smell of wet flowers
Over an evening garden.
Your portrait, perhaps?

XXIV


Staying in my room,
I thought of the new Spring leaves.
That day was happy.



This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1925, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.