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


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