Synecdoches: iii The Orchid

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
                                              William Butler Yeats

The beast dreams of his hour of steel, but it’s you,
the orchid, who, with your indigo edge, parts
his tweeting orange moment. The silent whole
curves through your tender petals into the love
cutting deep as a newborn’s first crying breath
slicing time into glints of the flying I.

The steel sky condenses into the blue I
enveloped in, dissolved into, orchid you.
Seeking to be biggest, the beast holds his breath
until he turns purple and bursts into parts
disappearing into airy shades of love
flowing into, revealing, the blooming whole.

The hour comes round for the beast to be born whole,
a baby-blue, squalling, sleeping, gurgling I,
held in reality, the orchid of love.
For a time, he nestles in the steel of your
refuge from what he was and will be, the part
that seeks to possess and sell the air all breathe.

The orchid breathes out oxygen the beast breathes
in; it is the soft azure mouth of the whole
kissing the beast and all the animal parts
into life; they taste of the honed steel blue I
that opens the beast wide; he gasps and stabs you,
and himself, in the two-pronged wounding of love.

The beast dreams of owning the orchid of love,
but the thing he dreams of having does not breathe;
it lies crushed in his tight fist, a smear of you
on his open palm, all that’s left of the whole;
all that can be possessed by the greedy I
is this ragged streak of blue, this murdered part.

“All the world’s a stage,” a play, of “many parts,”
an orchid glowing with cerulean love,
the steel line between knowing and known—the I,
continually breaking into this breath,
then this breath, each one made by, making, this whole,
all that’s owned lost in the midnight blue of you.

To live’s to be a part, say orchid, that breathes
in, out, this, say steel blue, love holding this whole.
To die’s to seek this I, say beast, that owns you.

                                                                 Roy Herndon Smith