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Irises 2 | by amndw2
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Irises 2

"And the play will present a goddess you used to know

From the glint of sunlit fountain, from beveled mirror,

 

A goddess, yes, but only a messenger

Whose message is the armorial fleur-de-lys

She carries in her right hand, signifying

The majesty of France, as handed down

 

From the royal house of Solomon and David:

Wisdom, music and valor gracefully joined

In trefoil harmony."

 

-- Anthony Hecht, "Look Deep," from _The Darkness and the Light_, 2001

 

(This poem also appeared in a gorgeous book called _The Gehenna Florilegium_, a collaboration between Hecht and the artist Leonard Baskin, who illustrated it with color woodcuts of various flowers; this one went, appropriately, with a woodcut of an iris. Hecht is playing on "iris" being both the word for "rainbow" in Greek and the name of the Greek messenger goddess -- as well as the flower itself being a heraldic motif for the French monarchy.)

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Taken on June 2, 2011