Florida Landscape

By Vivian Yeiser Laraore Rader


My land is wild lantana in the wind,
A puff-cloud over sawgrass bending low,
And where the scrub-palmetto has been thinned,
The philosophic gopher and the crow.
It is the deep survival of a need
For endless giving, endless over flowing,
The cradle for that energetic seed
Which beauty in a spendthrift mood is sowing.
Here cypress-knees that press against blue space
Were old when Lincoln wept for his lost Ann,
And moss that hangs like elemental lace
Is poetry too beautiful to scan;
And here the sea forgets all minor shades
To concentrate upon the source of blue
Which merges with the sapphire Everglades
And brings the heart of heaven close to you.
And here the sun is like a righteous man
Who hurls his wrath upon an erring race,
And then, grown gentle as a guardian
Protects the fledgling wings of purple space.
There are no hills in this, my native land,
No jagged cliffs that tear the sky asunder,
But level miles of fertile jungle fanned
By leaves that clap their jeweled hand in wonder.
Monotonous, they call this land of mine
Who do not know its sameness is a song,
Who have not sensed the fact that its design
Is but a sweeping curve the tides prolong.
They say that it is lush and overgrown,
In need of winter with its wand of death;
But they have never walked in groves alone
Where petalled snow came down with every breath,
And they have never seen the startled flame
Of great flamingoes rushing toward the sun,
Or traced along the quiet path they came
White egrets homing when the day is done.



About this poet

Vivian Yeiser Laramore Reader was Florida’s first poet laureate 1931- 1975. She edited a poetry column for the Miami Daily News providing a forum for over 780 poets.

Jones, Jane Anderson, and Maurice O’Sullivan, Maurice, eds. Florida in PoetryA History of the Imagination, Pineapple Press, Inc. 1995. xvi.