Lizzie Borden Day
“In the spirit if not the mode
of the Renaissance emblem poem,
Marvell’s garden poems deploy
the notion of green to invoke
the innocence of our founding myth
and the modern sense of renewal.”
Such was the thesis I failed
to etch into the stone tablets
I lugged to a professor’s lair
on the third floor of a revamped
townhouse on the BU campus.
My lack of clarity appalled
like thunder at dawn. Renewing
that shame, I rise into gloom
of secular rain, a storm brewing
in full glory a few miles south.
My garden, unlike Marvell’s,
lacks the innocence of dogma,
and flaunts its green libido
more aggressively than survival
requires. Today, Lizzie Borden Day,
the groan of logging machinery,
a herd of giant chippers,
competes with actual thunder
to compost as much of the planet
as its collective maw can swallow.
Marvell would rise in Parliament,
the angry member from Hull,
and protest this wanton ravishment.
I cower at my desk and propose
a thesis thirty years too late.
The rain and thunder drift east,
the sky mellows in tepid grays,
and Lizzie Borden, fresh from her grave,
waves her hatchet to warn me
that running amok won’t do.