Auguries of Innocence
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Auguries of Innocence is the first book of poetry from Patti Smith in more than a decade. It marks a major accomplishment from a poet and performer who has inscribed her vision of our world in powerful anthems, ballads, and lyrics. In this intimate and searing collection of poems, Smith joins in that great tradition of troubadours, journeymen, wordsmiths, and artists who respond to the world around them in fresh and original language. Her influences are eclectic and striking: Blake, Rimbaud, Picasso, Arbus, and Johnny Appleseed. Smith is an American original; her poems are oracles for our times.
self conscious, we begin again. A PYTHAGOREAN TRAVELER Awoke in a light not known before the lodging’s glass door mirroring a likeness not hoped to glimpse again clouds of my childhood, clouds of God that supported the feet of Jesus Christ ascending the brush of Raphael. The young on their motorbikes do not lift their heads nor cry: The clouds, the clouds. They are always there—Mediterranean arias mounting with swift and terrible calm. Do they know me? Do they know I am
sister? Are you coming? Mother’s better. We are flying on our own flapping up and down up and down discarding sweaters baring arms. Oh to be so small. MARIGOLD He had a face of long ago Driven and strange with sad, sad eyes And a smile to raise paradise She tended her flock upon a hill Observed him from a place above Obscured by light, blushing gold He traced the path of star and sun A nature torn as prudence spun Beheld the eyes of the beguiled one
plucked for skin and skein Do animals cry like humans as I having lost you yowled flagged curled in a ball This is how we beat the icy field shoeless and empty handed hardly human at all Negotiating a wilderness we have yet to know this is where time stops and we have none to go THE GEOMETRY BLINKED RUIN UNIMAGINABLE She clawed through the rubble of her world head covered a scrupulous maid searching for gems a necklace mislaid by her mistress on the marble
who shall greet the sun if the air be pink with folly and who shall remain save the children of the game and they shall be as bread upon the earth and they shall build monuments to the saints of their day and they shall shed all veils unwind all flags and hail their mother who found them naked abandoned in coffin shaped baskets and lifted them bathed and clothed them in the finery of her love and they shall remember her in cloth of blue dawn anchored in faith bathed in hope with charity unfurled
forefathers to New York City of poet rats and public transit. I wrote with the image of you above my worktable, vowing to one day trace your steps dressed in the watch cap and coat of my present self. This morning, pulling into your town, I walked the streets that you despised, the streets I love for your having despised them. I sleep steps away from your child sleep and awake to hear you call. I sense you loitering by the river, willing me to rise. I will go to the train station in Roche,