Dutch Flower Painting from the 1670s

A. E. Stallings

Winter 2017

The ladybird (or -bug) exits stage right,
Or, no, stage left, tiptoeing the tabletop,
But somewhat towards us, towards the source of light,
While overhead towers the scalloped cup

Of brindled tulip, pillowy peony,
Bouquet of blooms that never blew together,
Golden-age adynaton.  The bee
That crawls away, behind the base, however,

As if to hide some sadness in its face,
Or disappointment in the painted bowers’
Stigma and stamen, vanishes apace
Behind what isn’t there, that vase of flowers.

A. E. Stallings is an American poet who has lived in Greece since 1999. She has recently published a new verse translation of Hesiod’s Works and Days (Penguin Classics), and a new collection of poetry, Like (with FSG).

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