The Bluet

By James Schuyler 1923–1991 James Schuyler
And is it stamina
that unseasonably freaks
forth a bluet, a
Quaker lady, by
the lake? So small,
a drop of sky that
splashed and held,
four-petaled, creamy
in its throat. The woods
around were brown,
the air crisp as a
Carr's table water
biscuit and smelt of
cider. There were frost
apples on the trees in
the field below the house.
The pond was still, then
broke into a ripple.
The hills, the leaves that
have not yet fallen
are deep and oriental
rug colors. Brown leaves
in the woods set off
gray trunks of trees.
But that bluet was
the focus of it all: last
spring, next spring, what
does it matter? Unexpected
as a tear when someone
reads a poem you wrote
for him: "It's this line
here." That bluet breaks
me up, tiny spring flower
late, late in dour October.

James Schuyler, "The Bluet" from Selected Poems. Copyright © 1988 by James Schuyler. Reprinted with the permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC.

Source: Selected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1988)

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Poet James Schuyler 1923–1991

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Subjects Nature, Fall, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Imagery, Simile

Biography

Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Schuyler was a central member of the New York School.  He was born in Chicago, Illinois and spent his teen years in East Aurora, New York, before attending Bethany College in West Virginia. During World War II, Schuyler served on a destroyer in the North Atlantic and remained in the US Navy until 1947. Before moving to New York in 1950, Schuyler lived for two years on the Isle of Ischia in Italy . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Fall, Trees & Flowers

SCHOOL / PERIOD New York School

Poetic Terms Imagery, Simile

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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