Orange Berries Dark Green Leaves

By John Taggart b. 1942 John Taggart
Darkened not completely dark let us walk in the darkened field
trees in the field outlined against that which is less dark
under the trees are bushes with orange berries dark green leaves
not poetry’s mixing of yellow light blue sky darker than that
darkness of the leaves a modulation of the accumulated darkness
orange of the berries another modulation spreading out toward us
it is like the reverberation of a bell rung three times
like the call of a voice the call of a voice that is not there.
We will not look up how they got their name in a book of names
we will not trace the name’s root conjecture its first murmuring
the root of the berries their leaves is succoured by darkness
darkness like a large block of stone hauled on a wooden sled
like stone formed and reformed by a dark sea rolling in turmoil.

John Taggart, “Orange Berries Dark Green Leaves” from Is Music: Selected Poems. Copyright © 2010 by John Taggart. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Is Music: Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2010)

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Poet John Taggart b. 1942

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Trees & Flowers, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse


Experimental poet, essayist, and editor John Taggart was born in Perry, Iowa, and grew up in a series of small towns in Indiana. He earned a BA at Earlham College, an MA at the University of Chicago, and a PhD at Syracuse University, where he wrote his dissertation on the poetry of Louis Zukofsky. 

Influenced by poets Charles Olson and George Oppen, philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and novelist Herman Melville, Taggart’s poetry is . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Trees & Flowers, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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