Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret
among contemporary American writers. --John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture Marly Youmans is a novelist and poet out of sync with the times
but in tune with the ages. --First Things

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Magnolia Girl

Reading at Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, North Carolina, 2012

"The Magnolia Girl" originally appeared in Books & Culture Magazine.
Last summer it was reprinted in the collection The Foliate Head (UK: Stanza Press, 2012.)

Since it is Holy Saturday, or Black Saturday, or Easter Eve, I thought a poem involving the curious items of the Devil and repentance might just be in order... Enjoy!

from the back cover of THE FOLIATE HEAD
Artwork by Clive Hicks-Jenkins
(UK: Stanza Press, 2012)


The Magnolia Girl

She climbed the great magnolia tree 
To learn the ways of bird and bee,

And there the Prince of Darkness came 
To tempt her with delicious shame.

He bore her up and bore her down, 
He let her try his royal crown

While leaves went clattering-a-clack 
Like gossips warning at her back.

A burst of starlight from his face, 
His every move a sigh of grace—

Could you resist his lightsome wiles, 
Or stop the arrows of his smiles?

What was a tendency to hiss 
When set beside a glowing kiss?

In long-ago and far-away,
She danced her dance the livelong day—


She showed him all her naked skin, 
And what they did was mortal sin.

When boredom dulled his passion’s rage, 
The Serpent Prince desired a cage;

He jailed her in the blooming tree 
And spread a lie that she was free.

Addicted to the streaming light
From which her lover once took flight,


She now repents those leisure hours 
Misspent among magnolia flowers. 

2 comments:

  1. Oh, lovely, and sad. Now I will always think of this when i look at our magnolia (it sbuds are showing colour and will bloom soon). And that is a lovely photo of you, you look like a 20-something!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks!

    Oh, I wish... Zooming mighty fast toward 60.

    ReplyDelete

Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.