Red Stains

By Allen Tate 1899–1979 Allen Tate
In a pyloned desert where the scorpion reigns
My love and I plucked poppies breathing tales
Of crimes now long asleep, whose once–red stains
Dyed stabbing men, at sea with bloody sails.
The golden sand drowsed. There a dog yelped loud;
And in his cry rattled a hollow note
Of deep uncanny knowledge of that crowd
That loved and bled in winy times remote.
The poppies fainted when the moon came wide;
The cur lay still. Our passionate review
Of red wise folly dreamed on . . . She by my side
Stared at the Moon; and then I knew he knew.
       And then he smiled at her; to him ’twas funny—
       Her calm steel eyes, her earth–old throat of honey!

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Poet Allen Tate 1899–1979

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Subjects Relationships, Love, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

Poetic Terms Sonnet

 Allen  Tate

Biography

Allen Tate was a well-known man of letters from the American South, a central figure in the fields of poetry, criticism, and ideas. In the course of a career spanning the middle decades of the twentieth century, Tate authored poems, essays, translations, and fiction. Dictionary of Literary Biography contributor James T. Jones wrote that his "influence was prodigious, his circle of acquaintances immense." Tate relished his "man . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens

POET’S REGION U.S., Southern

SCHOOL / PERIOD Fugitive

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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