The Big Poppies Are Back!

By Bernie Bell

Driving out on Sunday – seeing the big poppies flowering along the road-sides as they do every year – summer is a comin’ in…

‘Big Poppy’ by Ted Hughes

Hot-eyed Mafia Queen!

At the trim garden’s edge

***

She sways towards August.

A Bumble Bee

Clambers into her drunken, fractured goblet –

***

Up the royal carpet of down-hung,

Shrivel-edged, unhinged petal, her first-about-to-fall.

He’s in there as she sways. He utters thin

***

Sizzling bleats of difficult enjoyment.

Her carnival paper skirts, luminous near-orange,

Embrace him helplessly.

***

Already her dark pod is cooking its drug.

Every breath imperils her.  Her crucible

Is falling apart with its own fierceness.

***

A fly, cool, rests on the flame-fringe.

***

Soon she’ll throw off her skirts

Withering into vestal afterlife,

***

Bleeding inwardly

Her maternal nectars into her own

Coffin – (cradle of her offspring).

****

Then we shall say:

She wore herself in her hair, in her day,

And we could see nothing but her huge flop of petal,

***

Her big, lewd, bold eye, in its sooty lashes,

***

And that stripped, athletic leg, hairy

In a fling of abandon – ‘

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