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Please Don't
Tony Hoagland


tell the flowers, they think
the sun loves them.
The grass is under the same
simple-minded impression

about the rain, the fog, the dew.
And when the wind blows,
it feels so good
they lose control of themselves

and swobtoggle wildly
around, bumping accidentally into their
slender neighbors.
Forgetful little lotus-eaters,

hydroholics, drawing nourishment up
through stems into their
thin green skin,

high on the expensive
chemistry of mitochondrial explosion,
believing that the dirt
loves them, the night, the stars

reaching down a little deeper
with their pale albino roots,
all Dizzy
Gillespie with the utter
sufficiency of everything.

They don't imagine lawn
mowers, the four stomachs
of the cow, or human beings with boots
who stop to marvel

at their exquisite
flexibility and color.
They persist in their soft-headed

hallucination of happiness.
But please don't mention it.
Not yet. Tell me
what would you possibly gain

from being right?


From Application for Release from the Dream (Graywolf Press, 2015).
Used here with the author’s permission.







Tony Hoagland (1953 - 2018) was born into a military family in North Carolina and grew up on army bases in Alabama, Ethiopia, Hawaii, and Texas. A fan of poetry since childhood, he was fascinated by nature. Tony's witty assessments of contemporary life and culture earned him extensive awards and recognition, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Poetry Foundation's Mark Twain Award. Author of six chapbooks, seven full-length poetry collections, and two collections of essays, Tony taught at the University of Houston and Warren Wilson College.



Post New Comment:
Great word: swobtoggle!
Posted 04/21/2016 03:30 PM
Posted 04/21/2016 01:22 PM
Gilbert Allen:
A delightful poem! And please, don't tell those little green guys about Roundup, either.
Posted 04/21/2016 09:58 AM
Lori Levy:
Posted 04/21/2016 09:38 AM
Jean :D:
Oh yes, to be read again & again. What a fun way to think about the grass & flowers. I envy your thought processes, Tony!
Posted 04/21/2016 08:44 AM
wendy morton:
Delicious poem! Dizzy with it.
Posted 04/21/2016 08:37 AM
Wonderful poetic insight--delightful!
Posted 04/21/2016 08:04 AM
Astounding poem. Yowsa. Hubba Hubba and all that. .
Posted 04/21/2016 07:32 AM
OH Thank You
Posted 04/21/2016 06:59 AM
Linda Anger:
What a delight, and in some regards, what a lesson!
Posted 04/21/2016 06:06 AM
Swobtoggle - now there's a descriptive word. Great poem. And yes, Phebe & Rhona, it should be read again and again.
Posted 04/21/2016 05:39 AM
What would morning be without a Tony Hoagland poem? Wait, don't answer. Just read the poem again and again!
Posted 04/21/2016 05:20 AM
How beautiful. Must stop and read it again - and again.
Posted 04/21/2016 05:15 AM
An absolute delightful romp of words. I am dizzy Gillepsie with the utter sufficiency of this poem. Clever but not too, too clever!
Posted 04/21/2016 05:07 AM

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