by Dick Allen

The French, I read somewhere,
think cellar door
most beautiful English.

          My father’s cellar door
          was ugly, unpainted.
          It led to the furnace.

But in your name
what’s named is also
wistful, mysterious

          as butterflies called
          Morning Cloak, Comma,
          Dun Skipper, Spring Azure.

In your vine’s bending
a playful history
of where you’ve been.

          In your tapering clusters,
          pure purple spirals,
          labyrinth meanings.

How your spring blossoms
tier over each other.
Ties of close families.

          So it’s no wonder
          the Japanese call you
          “Poet’s Ecstasy,”

to be humble, cavort,
silly, excessive,
ringlets wind tossing,

          that in Japanese stories
          you desire, greatly,
          cupfuls of sake,

as now, at my window,
your syllable petals
dissolve on my tongue.