Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Poetry 21: Penny Allen

I discovered Penny Allen through Discoveries: Two Centuries of Poems by Mormon Women, published by the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-Day History at BYU, but after I fell in love with her work, especially this poem, I found her name everywhere, including hymn texts ("Let the Holy Spirit Guide") and Harvest. You can find out more about her here. I think that I should know her personally. I think she should be sending stuff to Segullah. Until I can make that happen, I will admire her from afar. And I will memorize her poetry.

Here's an excerpt of the one I chose to memorize this semester. You can read it all here (scroll down to page 4).

by Penny Allen

Sucking darkness into swollen lobes,
It rides the cane over in its plumpness.
She wants it. Enough to thread a careful hand
Through the thorns, etching a ragged red
Rivulet on the wrist and pricking tiny
Rubies where she wavers, until her fingers
Lightly pluck it, thumb-pad pierced by a point
In the process. . . .

. . . Yet long after her tongue
Forgets the sweet, her throbbing thumb remembers
The pain, and still hungry, into the tangle
She flinches, sighing, “Oh, Eden, Eden.”



Th. said...


Is she still publishing? The MLDb doesn't have anything recent at all.

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite blackberry poem:
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries"
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
Aurora Leigh (1857): Bk. VII, 1, 821-824.


Anonymous said...

In case you can't tell by the slew of comments, I'm catching up on your posts (but now have to go care for the baby.) I love this one. Thanks for sharing all these great poems.