Poetry in Motion

New York

Wild Orchids

Katha Pollitt
A white horizontal poster with a colorful mosaic at the top features a poem titled Wild Orchids, by Katha Pollitt.

Wild Orchids

At the foot of a rock, bamboo and orchids,
small furled flowers that hold themselves aloof
from the mist that is everywhere.
You have left newspapers, indolent
quarrels over Sunday-morning coffee
to come to the museum with your lover
and admire these swirls
swept onto paper by an old monk
in less than ten minutes six hundred years ago
depicting the orchid,
which signifies the virtues of the noble man:
reticence, calm, clarity of mind.

From Antarctic Traveller, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1982 by Katha Pollitt. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a Division of Random House, Inc.