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Ornament

  Make me down a pallet on your floor.
                —Mississippi John Hurt


Is mine a gaudy God,
one of bobbins, pins?
Are you of salt and sod
or mine, a gaudy God
who—fingers thimble-shod,
baubled, bezelled—begins—
be mine, a gaudy God,
one of bobbins, pins.

Are you of salt and sod,
a fish, an element?
Do leaves fall where you've trod—
are you of salt and sod
and span of milkweed pod,
seed-sailing filament?
Are you of salt and sod,
a fish, an element?

Do leaves fall where you've trod?
Do you call the forest yours,
make down a meadow bed?
Do leaves fall where you've trod,
your hands brush goldenrod,
your lips, with deer, meet pears?
Do leaves fall where you've trod?
Is all the forest yours?

Make down a meadow bed.
Make me your only own.
Be mine, a gaudy God—
make down a meadow bed
with moss beneath your head,
soft sheets to slumber on.
Make down a meadow bed;
make me your own.


Anna Lena Phillips Bell

Ornament
University of North Texas Press


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