M. Lee Alexander

The Kilns Gardens

(Upon Visiting the Home of C. S. Lewis,
                  Headington, Oxford)

The garden in thin mottled sunlight blooms
as rose vermillion, hidden through the gate
bursts forth in subtle splendor by the wall
the air alive with birdsong as the doves
and magpies call; white petals scatter
to the ground like wild post-wedding bliss
and stray cat Radar scans this magic land
in search of prey, but purring with
familiar friendship settles for some cream
at dusk while ladybugs their leafy world
explore—dark foliage berry-crowned—a lone
three-legged muntjac deer finds solace here
protected from the autumn evening’s cold
as ash-grey wooden benches soaked with time
bid welcome to the garden’s secret joys.

Rodin’s Adam, 1881

Unlike Michelangelo’s Adam whose bold hand
reaches forth to touch the hand of God
(on which Rodin modeled his own work,
a post-fall first man robbed of innocence)
the arm of Rodin’s Adam winds straight down,
curved fingers pointing earthward, bare head bent
and pressed on twisted shoulder, eyes downcast:
every limb contorted in the greened
bronze figure, muscles taught with searing pain,
gnarled sinews bear the weight of newfound shame
and so remain in frozen fall from grace—
until the Second Adam’s arms outstretched.

***

martha-alexanderM. Lee Alexander’s work is inspired by her love of music, language, and travel. It has appeared in numerous journals including MacGuffin, Litchfield Review, Eleventh Muse, Niederngasse, Artemis, and Beltway Quarterly. Her first chapbook, Observatory, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2007 and was nominated for the Virginia Library Association Poetry Book Award. Her second chapbook Folly Bridge was published by the same press in 2011. She teaches creative writing at William and Mary.

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