Poetry Breaks: Li-Young Lee Reads "Irises"



this is a poem called irises whose context is my love for nature in general and my love of flowers in particular it arises out of a kind of anxiousness that I feel in finding nature impenetrable it's in two sections our pause between the sections irises in the night in the wind at the edge of the rain I find five irises and call them lovely as if a woman wants lay by them awhile then woke Rose went the memory of hair lingers on their sweet tongues I'd like to tear these petals with my teeth I'd like to investigate these hairy selves their beauty and indifference they hold their breath all their lives and open open we are not lovers not brother and sister that we drift hand-in-hand through a hall thrilling and burning as thought and desire expire and over this dream of life this life of sleep we waken dying violet becoming blue growing black black all that an iris ever praised when it prays to be you you

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