Hardy’s Catalogues

By Anne Winters b. 1939 Anne Winters
Fleeing his clubs, dull honors, wives, the ageing Hardy
hunches down in his potting-shed with his thumbtip-fumbled, fine-
printed seed catalogue’s inflorescences—
peripherally glimpsing the oxygenless blue line

of the fleur-de-lys scaling his inner wrist;
his chalky knuckles, his forearm’s crisp, lisse,
pleated wrinkles; softly brown-spotted
as a fox terrier’s belly. Yet this pleases, only this—

age-speckled surfaces, sun-galls rose-speckled; puckering
petals rugosely leaf-veined: the saturate, flooded
stemlines’ mauves and verdures on the backlit

catalogue’s tissuelike (nearly self-composting)
pages—like his skin, all milliner-ribboned; yet with, barely hooded,
things as they are and will be visible beneath it.

Source: Poetry (January 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2008


Anne Winters is the author of The Key to the City (1986), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Displaced of Capital (2004), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize.

Her poems address issues of poverty, homelessness, social inequality, and the city of New York. Dan Chiasson described her poems as “Miltonic, Marxist, ornate, and indignant,” adding that “her real . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Growing Old, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Sonnet

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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