There are no seas or stars wilder than those
imagination offers. There’s no rose
that multiplies its petals from the five
the briars have, in cirques of flame live
on the livid air, unless there is a rose
beyond the rose there is. The wild rose blows
and goes its ways, sends jagged pleasure through us,
the thrill of original power. Does something to us
worth doing. The fat, elaborate, and final
product, more fruit than flower, inspiring its vinyl
dimestore mock-ups, may put us off, may seem
somewhat too crowded, too artificed a dream:
It’s only the flower of having taken thought
and trouble, the double-double-double-wrought
theme of each wave’s wild singular sing-song.
What is more rare, original, or strong
than thought? Star-novelties or seas’ repose,
surprise, rise all where the briar-rose rose:
Fiery water and watery fire relapse
on their impulse. Someone thinking Perhaps
it would not be wholly unforgivable
to float a beginning, a nebular glow, and tell
what it wishes to be, not what it must,
is, as I style it, part and particular thrust
of how the new continually excels
itself, to become not merely something, but something else.
Desire and imagination meet
somewhere on a back street
and make their way to a room
where the vases are full of bloom
and the floorboards crossed with light.
And what they do there
if I have it right.
The heroes of what’s next, sea, star, and stem—
this dithyrambling rose I cut for them.
© Jack Butler