Two poems by Joan Siegel

There are many good poems in Hyacinth for the Soul by Joan Siegel. Her many endorsements by writers attest to this, writers such as Maxine Kumin, Diane Wakoski, and Vivian Shipley.

Here are two poems from the book that exhibit the ardor that runs throughout the book.

Folk Tale

The childless farmer’s wife dreams
about the cow and her calf. Warm milk
squeezed through her fingers into a pail.
She rends her apron and prays. Each night
she makes deals with the gods.

She’d give back anything—
Her mother’s gold ring.
Her mother’s last words.
The years of her childhood.
Her long golden hair.
The first night of love.
One arm, two eyes,
all her memories,

even the calf’s tongue on the udder,
the sound of sucking in the warm barn,
the smell of fresh straw.

The Mother of Joan of Arc

She walks one hundred miles
to kneel at the statue of Mary.

In Le Puy’s cold cathedral,
she prays for her daughter,
one mother to another.

Her prayer
is the mother’s longing—
as it was at the birth
that first ripped her open—
to hold
what her body made

not see the flesh
of her flesh
like paper.


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