By Mary De Rachewiltz Mary De Rachewiltz

. . . mangiavano le rose.

Because I do not know
what a hendecasyllable is
and words is all I have
to transubstantiate and give,
within me I hunger for a tongue
of my own, unpronounceable
flavors worth a thousand madeleines
(Monsieur P.) as hunting-horns spiral
through my belly and I say:
Schmorrn muis kneidl tirschtlan
guglhupf schluzza friggl prennsuppe
hoadana kneidl hoadanO plente
schaitohaufn kiochlan unt niggilan
faignkaffe kropfn unt Töpfnudl
so rich so good and tasty the speck
smoked wurscht and roast chestnuts
never to be tasted again where cement
has ousted the forest and the wood
                               (gas is the flame).
Because I do not know
                 because I do not know how
to plant roses by the spring
now dry, let my tears fill the fountain
where waters no longer flow,
and sing to the poet who broke
the mold (and ate red tulips
when sitting among stiff bores).
                   Because I do not know why
lunatics hunger after roses and still
appetite with petals behind high walls,
and because I do not know
how to chew the sound of the word
                          in a hendecasyllable line
along the way I must plant
a hedge or red roses
                           to taste and see.

NOTES: “Roses,” a poem of unsatisfied appetition, moves into the Pusteral dialect which the young Mary Rudge spoke during her childhood in the Tyrol, where she was raised by foster parents. The words in German evoke the local foods of the region. The “Because I do not know” cadence appears courtesy of T.S. Eliot and Guido Cavalcanti, while the final “taste and see” is a Denise Levertov title, via the Bible.—Richard Sieburth

Source: Poetry (January 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2010
 Mary  De Rachewiltz


Mary de Rachewiltz is the daughter of Ezra Pound. Her 1971 autobiography, Discretions, was reissued in 2005 as Ezra Pound: Father and Teacher. She is also the author of several books of poems, in Italian and English, and translator of Pound’s Cantos into Italian.

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Poems by Mary De Rachewiltz

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, Activities, Eating & Drinking, Nature, Trees & Flowers

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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