The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 17 no. 1


Carol Rumens

Praying with the Imam at Summerfade


Willow herb    jasmine    convolvulus    wild roses
We know what America brings us, 
the Imam sings, America brings us roses
And Europe flings us jasmine.
We know what flowers they bring us.

I’m ashamed I can bring so little -
only this old Welsh text illuminated
white and red, earth’s litany, autumn-muted.
The shiny, weak, bright-stemmed convolvulus
spirals round the stalks of the rose-bay willow.

And they forge the usual wild embrace, the swaying
deadlock of equals, yet
both are in flower; the day’s sufficiency feeds them.
Bees scarfed in gold    the goldfinch misted silver

Willow herb    roses    jasmine    convolvulus    pray for us
ac yn aur ein hangeu.

Cymraeg: ac yn aur ein hangeu - now and at the hour of our death (from the Ave Maria).