From the Archives

Geisblatt

Brigit Pegeen Kelly

The sun came up, the birds whistled, the honeysuckle bloomed –
the honeysuckle bloomed with such unbounded fervor it obliter-
ated the far-off cries . . . but maybe we should have paid heed to how
the swarming gold brought on a kind of delirium, as if the gold
were not innumerable blooms commingling, but clouds of those 
long-legged needling insects, which are, it is true, indescribably
beautiful, but deadly nonetheless, and more deadly en masse, in-
ducing a kind of sleeping sickness, a kind of wasting sickness that
renders one incapable of rising from bed, or rising clearly into a
single thought . . . maybe we should have noticed that the hon-
eysuckle blossoms taken one by one are not the same as the blo-
ssoms yoked together, yoked, the blooms are gold as bouillon, gold as 
the sun, while the single blossom, on the bush or on the vine – bush
or vine, or even small tree, the honeysuckle being, as it were, a
creature of multiple natures, as if possessed by many demons,
sometimes mounding, sometimes swooning, sometimes thrusting
its arms straight up – the single blossom is a stringy affair, a piece of
pronged flesh, of ruinous color, fermented yellow, and inverted like
a divining rod, pointing straight down, yes, a beneficent instrument
nailing the exact watery spot, this spot, and this spot, and this – but
less like that, like a tool of divination, than like a man forcibly
turned upside down, his arms splayed, as Peter’s arms were splayed,
his feet bound, the bush snagged all over with little Peters, a bush
of shrunken martyrs, a gaseous lit ball turning in the air like a
Catherine Wheel, a thing I have never seen, and therefore should
not speak of, some gold confounding horror or blessing, made now,
in this time, this fateful place, into no more than a party favor, a tree
of poppets, the crowning curiosity of some flamboyant festival,
designed – while the city burns – to distract the king.

Brigit Pegeen Kelly was an American poet who won the Yale Younger Poets Prize for her first collection To the Place of Trumpets.
Originally published:
April 1, 2009

Featured

Essays

Communalism in the Veld

Rethinking property in South Africa
Glen Retief

Fiction

The Front House

Cord Jefferson

Books

The Sublime Modes of Sheila Heti

The novelist as philosopher
Noreen Khawaja

You Might Also Like

From the Archives

Messages

Mary Oliver

Poem of the Week

Teletherapy

Brian Tierney

Poetry

Guest House

John Jeremiah Sullivan

Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.
Subscribe