Plough me under with new wonder,
Grow me with listening ears,
Top and tassel me asunder,
Freshen me with tears.
Pledge me with silk upon my lips
From scented windrift hair
And set upon my fingertips
Your fingers kernel-bare.
Place all your ribs against my own
In furrows of delight
And there shall be a new harvest grown
Under the moon at night.
Witter Bynner is one of my favorite poets, woefully underrated. I first learned of him because a collection of poetry written in his honor came through the Center for Southwest Research in Zimmerman Library in New Mexico where I worked. I did a report on him first year in University and learned of his rich and varied poetry as well as his impressive works of criticism, translation, and drama. He was a pacifist, a lover of Asia and Mexico, a gentle man who was briefly engaged to Edna St. Vincent Millay, and prone to playing sly literary hoaxes (but we’ll get to that). He was openly gay and accused by society doyenne Mabel Dodge Lujan of single-handedly bringing homosexuality to New Mexico (he got her back by lampooning her in Cake). Unfortunately he never gained the recognition he sought. His poetry has resonance and musicality.