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Goldenrod

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If I don't say it
someone will: the wind
blows through the goldenrod
like death flows through a crowd.
I watch it from a distance
as the whole field lifts and stirs.
Close up, it holds the promise
of a less than perfect world.
I knew the thing
before I knew its name.
Now all I know
is what the name infers:
a life of pure sensation
or the rod some angel brings—
announcing a momentous
death or birth, each face
expectant, brightly-lit.
I say the name and what it means
until the meaning blurs.
The wind blows through the goldenrod
like death flows through a crowd.
Nothing is accomplished
and the world is changed by it.

Source: Poetry (Poetry)

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This poem originally appeared in the August 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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Goldenrod

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