Knopf Poem-a-Day: April 18, Mona Van Duyn’s “Sonnet for Minimalists”


Light verse (with serious purpose) from Mona Van Duyn (1921-2004).

Sonnet for Minimalists

From a new peony,
my last anthem,
a squirrel in glee
broke the budded stem.
I thought, Where is joy
without fresh bloom,
that old hearts’ ploy
to mask the tomb?

Then a volunteer
stalk sprung from sour
bird-drop this year
burst in frantic flower.

The world’s perverse,
but it could be worse.

Cavafy audio bonus today: click here to hear Edward Hirsch read “The God Abandons Antony.”

Learn more about Mona Van Duyn’s Selected Poems.

Excerpt from SELECTED POEMS © 2002 by Mona Van Duyn. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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