Marcus Aurelius Rose

By Lisa Jarnot b. 1967 Lisa Jarnot

for Thomas

From the five good emperors
I have learned that there were five good emperors,
 
From the lemon tree I’ve planted
now I know that leaves unpummeled yet will drop,
 
From the clock, the time, it’s five p.m.,
from the sun the length of day,
 
From Quercus borealis, the queer names of the leaves
of all the trees,
 
From burning I’ve learned burning,
from the aster family chickory abounds,
 
From hawkweed of the colors bright,
from sleeping, of my dreams,
 
From mosquitoes, scratching, from fishes, fishing,
from turkeys how to run and how to hop,
 
From erect perennials I’ve learned to reach the shelf,
from my cats to lick the dark part of the tin,
 
From the sparrows I’ve learned this and that,
from Germanic tribes, to gather thoughts in herds,
 
From the window blinds, from the sun decayed,
from the heart, a brimming record braised and turned.

Lisa Jarnot, "Marcus Aurelius Rose" from Night Scenes. Copyright © 2008 by Lisa Jarnot.  Reprinted by permission of Flood Editions.

Source: Night Scenes (Flood Editions, 2008)

RELATED CONTENT

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Lisa Jarnot b. 1967

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Growing Old, Life Choices, Activities, School & Learning

Poetic Terms Allusion, Couplet