Maxine, back from a weekend with her boyfriend,
smiles like a big cat and says
that she’s a conjugated verb.
She’s been doing the direct object
with a second person pronoun named Phil,
and when she walks into the room,
everybody turns:

some kind of light is coming from her head.
Even the geraniums look curious,
and the bees, if they were here, would buzz
suspiciously around her hair, looking
for the door in her corona.
We’re all attracted to the perfume
of fermenting joy,

we’ve all tried to start a fire,
and one day maybe it will blaze up on its own.
In the meantime, she is the one today among us
most able to bear the idea of her own beauty,
and when we see it, what we do is natural:
we take our burned hands
out of our pockets,
and clap.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Tony Hoagland's poem Grammar

4 Comments

  1. SARABJEET SINGH says:

    can any website give me critical analysis on tony hoagland’s poetry.

    • American Poems says:

      Sarabjeet,
      you’ll get a better response to your question if you share some of your own insight into the poem. What’s your take on this? Do you have any specific questions? This will help others when trying to give you a relevant answer.

  2. Tiffany says:

    This is one of my favorite poems in this book. The corner is dog-eared and the margin filled with notes. I’ve probably read it fifty times and I grow to enjoy it more with each read.

  3. ashley ball says:

    great poem but don’t tell us what is going on let people start gessing than you for sharing your poem thank you
    your friend,
    ASHLEY BALL

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