Whereof the Gift is Small
by Maxine W. Kumin
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey
And short the season, first rubythroat
in the fading lilacs, alyssum in bloom,
a honeybee bumbling in the bleeding heart
on my gelding’s grave while beetles swarm
him underground. Wet feet, wet cuffs,
little flecks of buttercup on my sneaker toes,
bluets, violets crowding out the tufts
of rich new grass the horses nose
and nibble like sleepwalkers held fast—
brittle beauty—might this be the last?
This poem references, and uses language from
Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey's sonnet,
"The Frailty and Hurtfulness of Beauty" (here).
Read more about it from Maxine Kumin here.