Brigit Pegeen Kelly


Died
October 20, 2016

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Average rating: 4.28 · 1,162 ratings · 75 reviews · 4 distinct worksSimilar authors
Song

4.30 avg rating — 791 ratings — published 1994 — 3 editions
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The Orchard

4.25 avg rating — 276 ratings — published 2004 — 4 editions
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To the Place of the Trumpets

4.22 avg rating — 74 ratings — published 1988 — 2 editions
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Song & The Orchard

4.48 avg rating — 21 ratings2 editions
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“This song is sweet. It is sweet. The heart dies of this sweetness.”
Brigit Pegeen Kelly

“Plants Fed On by Fawns"

All the flowers: the pleated leaves of the hellebore;
And the false blossom of the calla, a leaf like a petal—
The white flesh of a woman bathing— a leaf over-
Shadowing the small flowers hidden in the spadix;
And fly poison, tender little flower, whose cursed root
Pounded into a fine white powder will destroy flies.
But why kill flies? They do not trouble me. They
Are like the fruit the birds feed on. They are like
The wind in the trees, or the sap that threads all things,
The blue blood moving through branch and vine,
Through the wings of dead things and living things....
If I lift my hand? If I write to you? The letters
Can be stored in a box. Can they constitute the shape
Of a love? Can the paper be ground? Can the box
Be altar and garden plot and bed? Can there rise
From the bed the form of a two-headed creature,
A figure that looks both forward and back, keeping
Watch always, one head sleeping while the other wakes,
The bird head sleeping while the lion head wakes,
And then the changing of the guard?.... No,
The flies do not trouble me. They are like the stars
At night. Common and beautiful. They are like
My thoughts. I stood at midnight in the orchard.
There were so many stars, and yet the stars,
The very blackness of the night, though perfectly
Cold and clear, seemed to me to be insubstantial,
The whole veil of things seemed less substantial
Than the thing that moved in the dark behind me,
An unseen bird or beast, something shifting in its sleep,
Half-singing and then forgetting it was singing:
Be thou always ravished by love, starlight running
Down and pulling back the veil of the heart,
And then the water that does not exist opening up
Before one, dark as wine, and the unveiled figure
Of the self stepping unclothed, sweetly stripped
Of its leaf, into starlight and the shadow of night,
The cold water warm around the narrow ankles,
The body at its most weightless, a thing so durable
It will— like the carved stone figures holding up
The temple roof— stand and remember its gods
Long after those gods have been forsaken.”
Brigit Pegeen Kelly, The Orchard

“The Leaving"

My father said I could not do it,
but all night I picked the peaches.
The orchard was still, the canals ran steadily.
I was a girl then, my chest its own walled garden.
How many ladders to gather an orchard?
I had only one and a long patience with lit hands
and the looking of the stars which moved right through me
the way the water moved through the canals with a voice
that seemed to speak of this moonless gathering
and those who had gathered before me.
I put the peaches in the pond’s cold water,
all night up the ladder and down, all night my hands
twisting fruit as if I were entering a thousand doors,
all night my back a straight road to the sky.
And then out of its own goodness, out
of the far fields of the stars, the morning came,
and inside me was the stillness a bell possesses
just after it has been rung, before the metal
begins to long again for the clapper’s stroke.
The light came over the orchard.
The canals were silver and then were not.
and the pond was–I could see as I laid
the last peach in the water–full of fish and eyes.”
Brigit Pegeen Kelly, To the Place of the Trumpets

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