“Little Lion Face”

Thmazing posted this poem by May Swenson (1919-1989), Mormon poet, in April. I don’t usually “get” poetry, but I sure as heck got this and it is…beautiful. I’m going to have to invest some time in her work.

Little lion face
I stopped to pick
among the mass of thick
succulent blooms, the twice

streaked flanges of your silk
sunwheel relaxed in wide
dilation, I brought inside,
placed in a vase.Milk

of your shaggy stem
sticky on my fingers, and
your barbs hooked to my hand,
sudden stings from them

were sweet.Now I’m bold
to touch your swollen neck,
put careful lips to slick
petals, snuff up gold

pollen in your navel cup.
Still fresh before night
I leave you, dawn’s appetite
to renew our glide and suck.

An hour ahead of sun
I come to find you.You’re
twisted shut as a burr,
neck drooped unconscious,

an inert, limp bundle,
a furled cocoon, your
sun-streaked aureole
eclipsed and dun.

Strange feral flower asleep
with flame-ruff wilted,
all magic halted,
a drink I pour, steep

in the glass for your
undulant stem to suck.
Oh, lift your young neck,
open and expand to your

lover, hot light.
Gold corona, widen to sky.
I hold you lion in my eye
sunup until night.

5 thoughts on ““Little Lion Face”

  • August 26, 2008 at 3:36 pm


    If you find a good source online, I hope you’ll post it. Best I can tell, I’m going to have to buy a book.

  • August 26, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Yeah, I’m going to look for it and if a compendium source is not readily available, well, it might become a DIY project.

    Or not. I see she’s readily available on Amazon. 😀

  • August 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm


    For some reason, buying books online takes me months and months to get around to. It should be easier, yet it takes me longer. I don’t know why.

  • August 27, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Interlibrary loan, perhaps?

  • August 27, 2008 at 10:29 pm


    Yes. Something else theoretically easy, but that I just never manage to pull off. Hard things I can do no problem.

    There’s obviously something wrong with me.


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