The Southern Poetry Review has introduced readers to some of the best poets in the country, many of them from the South. As promised, here is Julie Suk's splendid poem from the Winter issue. Julie has a new book out from Autumn House Press, Lie Down With Me: New and Selected Poems. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
SPR has just published a gathering of poems published in the magazine over the last ten years. More about that in a later post.
BRUEGHEL IN THE HYDRANGEAS
Aging through August, the hydrangeas
turn from pastels to brick and bronze,
the same rich colors tempering
Brueghel’s Triumph of Death,
that ravaging depiction of pillage and war—
the myriad mutilations
we foolishly thought we would modify.
When we die, will our last glimpse be
of brilliance, a smear of color scumbled
over the sour realities left behind?
I wish, but then I look with envy
at two lovers in the painting
having at it under a tree,
the pair of them entwined,
her head thrown back, the creamy neck
exposed as long as paint holds.
Better than years of scrubbing
the resilience of dirt,
cheeks graying along the way.
True, Brueghel’s faces are never
you can depend on a darkness there
brooding below the pink.