Thursday, February 11, 2010


Gather rosebuds, Herrick said,
before the smiling
bloom is dead

like he knew, in 1650,
how to hurry
or how shifty

time can be, or how it slips
a cunning hand
around their hips

what is it that you’re waiting for
how is it that you can ignore
the heat unlocking every pore?
the pulse that pounds into a roar?

The sun is Carpe Diem’s call
that bounces off
the convent wall

grab a basket, wide and deep
and leave the chaste
their spotless sleep

mind the thorns, but if they rake
seep some blood
for beauty’s sake

who is it that you’re waiting on
restrained within your prim salon?
why linger there, trussed in chiffon,
shifting, sighing, growing wan?

Gather rosebuds while you can
before the virgins
hit the fan

spinning fingers, blush and blouses
until poor
John Waterhouse’s

maidens fall like Pollock drips,
bending tears
around their lips


Julie said...

Joaquin, you teach us yet another great lesson. Your poems keep me thinking (and remembering). Gather ye rosebuds while ye may! I remember the frosty teacher who made us recite parts of that poem, and she was about as full of life as a dead fish...haha! It wasn't until later that I heard about the "other" meaning of the word die.

Oh, well. Enough of my silliness. There are so many things to love about your poem. It is very wise, of course. And there are so many good lines. Well, shoot. They're all good. I particularly love "the heat unlocking every pore?/the pulse that pounds into a roar?" And the virgins hitting the fan is sheer awesomeness. As always, I love the rhythm and voice that is your unique style. Two thumbs up, Joaquin. This is an excellent poem on its own merit but also a way cool nod to art and verse. Carpe diem!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

I appreciate the many layers of this poem. The tongue-in-cheek of it is perfect! The philosophy, the art - (the Pre-Raphaelites hold a special place with members of this family) - the poetry inside of poetry. The rosebuds being the very virgins themselves losing physical beauty (hitting the fan!- ha) Pollock drips - Fantastic!

Cleverly embedded inferences, too -chaste, spotless sleep, convent - then seep blood for beauty's sake.

The philosophy of "live for and in the moment" comes shining through, by way of your special spin.
You articulate with moving clarity and never falter. If I were to point out just one of your many qualities as a poet, it would be that you never lose sight of your idea. You go straight forward and never waver. That is what makes your work so strong.

Karen said...

Um, what K said. There's no reason for me to say anything else except to add my voice of praise. The allusions to Herrick's poetry, the carpe diem philosophy, the virgins (trussed like exotic birds under glass), and the Waterhouse-Pollack transformation...all of this is sheer genious, multi-layered pleasure.

Sarah Hina said...

Yeah...what Kaye said.

You've surpassed yourself. With one small step in words—John Waterhouse's maidens fall like Pollock drips—you've taken the giant, existential leap. And brought us breathlessly with you.

I particularly loved the urgency pressing behind every line, the warning of time's “cunning hand around their hips” meeting its shadow in the final line, “bending tears around their lips.” And these stanzas are enough to make the rosebuds blush:

grab a basket, wide and deep
and leave the chaste
their spotless sleep

mind the thorns, but if they rake
seep some blood
for beauty’s sake

All of it. A Romantic call to action, with each petal unfurling perfectly.

(And Nick Drake to boot! :) )

Anonymous said...

and i see you got Nick drake album on your side - YEp!! that is it.

and a book - wow i am so late behind all the news

BloggerMouth said...

"Seep some blood for beauty's sake"

My favourite lines. I like the energy reading this poem gives me. You have a penchant for saying the most amazing things in the most amazing ways. Live for the day, live like each day is your last. Brilliant, Joaquin.

RachelW said...

I have no idea what this is about, but I like it, very much. It calls me into another world in the way good novels do.

Nevine said...

Joaquin, I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this to you before, but... there's always the voice of sarcasm in your poetry. Sarcasm and cynicism. I hear the "well there's this... but then here's the flip side... the reality" in everything you write.

I like your use of the imperative in this piece. It's a subtle call... though not so subtle, what lies between the lines. And your use of allusion makes it critical for the reader to know their stuff. And that's the between-the-lines goodness that's here. I sometimes feel challenged, Joaquin, by what you write. But it's always a learning experience... always!


Aniket said...

Okay, I come off as the shamefully ignorant one to not get those references. I wasn't into poetry until I met you folks.

But for the major part of it, um, what Kaye said. :D :D :D

Kaye, Karen and Sarah. They should have been surgeons. Expert in dissecting every art form.

joaquin carvel said...

julie - dead fish - ha! that's part of what led to this, i think - trying to blow the dust off it a little. (i taught you something? that's a switch!) thank you.

k - glad it came off as tongue-in-cheek - just imagining what herrick would have thought about life today made me smile. and thank you for the amazing compliment - that's almost impossible for me to see, but i'll take your word for it.

karen - thank you - i felt a little beyond my usual scope but apparantly it worked out. :)

sarah - wow. i was hoping it fell more towards existential than pretentious, so thank you - and for mentioning the shadow - i liked how that came together.

u-frag - if i could write where that album takes me i'd have another book. good to see you!

blo-mo - glad you felt the energy - i was a little surprised by it but it seemed to fit. thank you.

rachel - thank you - if it moves you anyway that's a very cool thing.

nevine - thank you - your comment about sarcasm and cynicism rocked me - not that sarcasm isn't useful, but i think i'm more of a smartass than i should be more often than i'd like to be. i think i know what you mean about being challenged, too - i feel that way sometimes - which can be good as long as it doesn't come at the expense of something to connect with. hopefully this doesn't.

aniket - you are so right! it could be a tv show - medical drama meets literary enactment - what would we title it? anyway, thank you - i'm usually "shamefully ignorant" too when it comes to this stuff - i just happened to put a few things i know into one poem.

in hindsight, i probably should have linked a few lines to make it less obscure; but if you're so inclined, you can find:

herrick's poem at:

waterhouse's painting at:

a cool gallery of pollock at:

Jannie Funster said...

Before the virgins hit the fan, that cracked me up. I am always swept away by how you mix the funny with the deepest cuts. This will stay with me Joaquin.