Poets | Bookstore | Poem of the Day | Top 40 | Search | Comments | Privacy
December 22nd, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 282,504 comments.
Sharon Olds - The Mortal One

Three months after he lies dead, that
long yellow narrow body,
not like Christ but like one of his saints,
the naked ones in the paintings whose bodies are
done in gilt, all knees and raw ribs,
the ones who died of nettles, bile, the
one who died roasted over a slow fire—
three months later I take the pot of
tulip bulbs out of the closet
and set it on the table and take off the foil hood.
The shoots stand up like young green pencils,
and there in the room is the comfortable smell of rot,
the bulb that did not make it, marked with
ridges like an elephant's notched foot,
I walk down the hall as if I were moving through the
long stem of the tulip toward the closed sheath.
In the kitchen I throw a palmful of peppercorns into the
     saucepan
as if I would grow a black tree from the soup,
I throw out the rotten chicken part,
glad again that we burned my father
before one single bloom of mold could
grow up
out of him,
maybe it had begun in his bowels but we burned his
     bowels
the way you burn the long blue
scarf of the dead, and all their clothing,
cleansing with fire. How fast time goes
now that I'm happy, now that I know how to
think of his dead body every day
without shock, almost without grief,
to take it into each part of the day the
way a loom parts the vertical threads,
half to the left half to the right like the Red Sea and you
throw the shuttle through with the warp-thread
attached to the feet, that small gold figure of my father—
how often I saw him in paintings and did not know him,
the tiny naked dead one in the corner,
the mortal one.

Share |

Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 3634 times | Comments and analysis of The Mortal One by Sharon Olds Comments (2)

The Mortal One - Comments and Information

Poet: Sharon Olds
Poem: The Mortal One

Comment 2 of 2, added on December 21st, 2014 at 1:52 PM.
DcIRTAVvjWcu

VQptpA I used to be suggested this web site via my cousin. I am not positive whether or not this put up is written through him as nobody else recognise such special about my problem. You are amazing! Thanks!

good backlinks from Brazil
Comment 1 of 2, added on July 19th, 2014 at 4:01 AM.
nWGWSyLDoTx

YJasNI Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Really thank you!

high quality backlinks from Qatar

Are you looking for more information on this poem? Perhaps you are trying to analyze it? The poem, The Mortal One, has received 2 comments. Click here to read them, and perhaps post a comment of your own.

Poem Info

Olds Info
Copyright © 2000-2012 Gunnar Bengtsson. All Rights Reserved. Links | Bookstore