Need help finding a poem, "Poinsettias," published in the New Yorker magazine
July 31, 2011 8:42 AM   Subscribe

A poem, "Poinsettias", from the New Yorker, published sometime in late 1980 or early 1981?

I know I can search through the online archives for this, but I have limited access to a computer just now.
Does anyone remember this poem, dealing with the passage of time, and inevitable loss? My family was comforted by it, upon the unexpected and early death of my father during that time period.
I would like to have it now, as my lifelong best friend has just died suddenly. I'm fairly sure the title is "Poinsettias," but I don't remember the author.
Thanks in advance for any help.
posted by ragtimepiano to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I have the complete New Yorker for those years, but I'm not finding anything with the word Poinsettias. Searching the keyword Death pulls up 12 poems in 1980, 6 in 1981, but I can't really tell from your information if any of them are it. Can you give any other details?
posted by JanetLand at 9:58 AM on July 31, 2011

This one by Katherine Gallagher?
posted by Ideefixe at 10:04 AM on July 31, 2011

This one by Claude McKay?
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:09 AM on July 31, 2011

Response by poster: Those are beautiful poems but not the one for which I'm searching. JanetLand, the title is, I believe, "Poinsettias"--or at the least that word is included in the title. I can't remember the author. The gist of the poem is that enclosed within the red blossoms are the harbingers of decay, of ending---that even as the plants bloom, there is evidence of their eventual ends.
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:49 PM on July 31, 2011

Response by poster: JanetLand, the last line reads something like this: "Take my hands and bless them, as they bless what they long to keep."
posted by ragtimepiano at 1:02 PM on July 31, 2011

Well, I'm not having any luck -- admittedly, the search function for the Complete New Yorker isn't that great (it won't search all the text, for instance), but I tried every key word I could think of based on your information. Are you sure it was the New Yorker? and are you sure about the years? I know you keep saying the title has poinsettia in it, but using that as a search term produces no hits, even when the years are expanded to cover every issue from 1925-2006.
posted by JanetLand at 2:10 PM on July 31, 2011

Response by poster: Yes, I'm sure it was the New Yorker. I clipped the poem and had it in my kitchen for years. A further line is something like, "...that time of parting/the time which we are never sufficiently shored against"
Thanks so much for your time and all the searching you've done, JanetLand. I truly appreciate it!
posted by ragtimepiano at 2:46 PM on July 31, 2011

Like JanetLand, I have the Complete New Yorker from 1925 - 2005.

I went through every poem January 1980 - December 1981 that had any mention of any type of plant in the keywords.

I have found stuff about dandelions, hemlocks, and apple blossoms.

Are you sure the poem is from between 1980-1981? Is it possible the poem was from an earlier year but you clipped it in 1980-1981?

I've done a really thorough search of 1980-981, and if it was published in "The New Yorker", it definitely wasn't published during those years.
posted by zizzle at 2:00 PM on August 1, 2011

Response by poster: I'm not choosing a "best answer" because I do thank all of you for your replies and searches. When I find the poem I will post here to let you know, and include the poem.
posted by ragtimepiano at 10:18 PM on August 10, 2011

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