Spring in Review – Kenyon Review


Looking for signs of spring in the latest issue of The Kenyon Review, here’s the score:

5 flower, 3 bloom, 5 bud, 6 leaf, 9 leaves, 10 bird, and 22 glimpses of green.

[Note: all tallied text taken from the entirety of the print issue of The Kenyon Review Spring 2009, including poetry, prose, front matter and end notes. Most phrases have been kept intact; in some places words were omitted or punctuation slightly altered; no words have been added except as indicated. Thank you to all the authors who brought these lines into being.]

Flower 5

Lost… every pleasure except music and flowers
tracing flowers, unearthly fruit
green-flowered wallpaper
the heads off flowers for breakfast
flowering of voice in the final book

Green 22

the green identified my possessions:

a wetland forest and a green sky
old pizza as close as we could come to green cheese
Letters and Commentary, Court Green, and other journals
Alva G. Greenberg
[who] wanted me to wear a green sweater
grazing sheep and green mountains
covered in green fur.

unseasonably warm winter of green grass, and geese,
two trees, wound and crowned with greenery,
a bathroom with green-flowered wallpaper.

the green urn from Frederick’s Funeral Home
roundish face, green eyes, a nice-enough figure.

my girl compelled by her own green dream,
her slant green eyes, large ones,
giant apples set against the green,
strangers [who] wander into Harry Greener’s funeral.

green eyes and chopped hair, waiting to say bring Marco home

the rim of a green bowl,
the green canopy of a tree, the one
fat, knuckly, green.

Bloom 3

Some people called Charlotte and me late bloomers
Bloom, author of the bestselling The Closing of the American Mind
Bloom, whom she admired and loved, and was writing a dissertation on Dostoyevsky

Bud 5

I used to love to kneel down and pray for the bud.
“Everything’s all right, buddy.”
The others were asked to help themselves from a cooler of Budweisers.

Once, when the Buddha was a rabbit
“Hey buddy”
I put them on the floor behind the front seats where they didn’t budge.

Leaf 6

pupa hung to dry under a leaf.
ten moons away, she still desired to be be-leafed.
I was re-leafed, the primeval woodland.


So, rent due. Leaf drop.
“I never yet touched a fig leaf that didn’t turn into a price tag.”
A little leaf caught under my boot is bright enough for me.

9 Leaves

A wind blew, and leaves
leaves of the great cottonwood clattered above
leaves like paper moving over the pavement

the soles of my shoes were made of leaves

orange and red leaves
where Irving leaves him for the last time
leaves from the sidewalk
leaves me searching for the remnants of my sleep

raked and bagged leaves

10 Bird

Oh, crown – she knows the birds
Soft as the tiniest bird eating thistle
joined by on-again, off-again Birdsong

Birds gather.
peace, exile, poetry, loneliness –wheat, silk, hands, dust, birds

In daylight the gray birds
the one-legged birds
from above: diving beaks and birdclaws

“Do not interpret my words / with a teaspoon or a bird snare!”
Three books of poetry: The Archival Birds.