Today we visited a friend high in Los Altos Hills. This is the view
from her place out over the San Francisco Bay. It was a beautiful, clear day!
Behind me and all around, but unseen here, were Toyon bushes
bearing the most spectacular crop of red berries I had yet seen anywhere.
Our friend told us that they were all descended from a gift that sprouted
in her mother's yard many years ago. And I was so busy talking
that I forgot to take any pictures of the spectacular clusters of berries!
HUMAN, AVIAN, VEGETABLE, BLOOD
Today, three days before Christmas,
I had planned to cut some berries
From the toyon bush in the yard.
For three years it has not done well.
This is the first year it produced
A decent crop. But this morning
A flock of thirty migrating
Robins appeared, and before noon
Every berry had been eaten.
This year we will buy our foliage
As usual, and the symbols
Of incarnate flesh we tended
All year will be mingled
With pale hot bird blood, high over
The barren Mexican mountains.
The Collected Shorter Poems, New Directions, 1966, page 266.
I was reminded of this poem, which was given to me as a broadside gift at a Moe's Books poetry event in Berkeley in the late 1980s. Now this broadside has become a desirable artifact and is being offered for sale on the Internet. I must have mine somewhere, but where??
Your task: a fifteen line poem which mingles personal experience with an imaginative
extension; you might not need to go as far as the mountains of Mexico!