Statue and Birds

By Louise Bogan 1897–1970 Louise Bogan
Here, in the withered arbor, like the arrested wind,   
Straight sides, carven knees,
Stands the statue, with hands flung out in alarm   
Or remonstrances.

Over the lintel sway the woven bracts of the vine   
In a pattern of angles.
The quill of the fountain falters, woods rake on the sky   
Their brusque tangles.

The birds walk by slowly, circling the marble girl,   
The golden quails,
The pheasants, closed up in their arrowy wings,   
Dragging their sharp tails.

The inquietudes of the sap and of the blood are spent.   
What is forsaken will rest.
But her heel is lifted,—she would flee,—the whistle of the birds   
Fails on her breast.

Louise Bogan, “Statue and Birds” from The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968. Copyright © 1968 by Louise Bogan. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

Source: The Blue Estuaries: Poems 1923-1968 (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1968)

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Poet Louise Bogan 1897–1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Nature

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Ekphrasis

 Louise  Bogan

Biography

Louise Bogan has been called by some critics the most accomplished woman poet of the twentieth century. Her subtle, restrained style was partially influenced by writers such as Rilke and Henry James, and partially by the English metaphysical poets such as George HerbertJohn Donne, and Henry Vaughan, though she distanced herself from her intellectually rigorous, metaphysical contemporaries. Some critics have placed her in a . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Modern

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza, Ekphrasis

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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