Fireworks By Amy Lowell

- Dec 24, 2018-

In this poem, Amy Lowell speaks about her feelings toward her enemy by using fantastic imagery to compare her fury with fireworks.

This writing is one of Lowell’s most famous writings today. It consists of couplet rhymes, sometimes referred to as a heroic rhyme scheme. The poem’s stanzas are split up into couplets and four-line stanzas with the couplets acting as bridgeways to other ideas and a slight change of pace. The bridgeways are more for the reader than for the poet. They tell us that something else is coming and to look out for it.


You hate me and I hate you
And we are so polite, we two!

But whenever I see you, I burst apart
And scatter the sky with my blazing heart.
It spits and sparkles in the stars and balls,
Buds into roses – and flares, and falls.

Scarlet buttons, and pale green disks,
Silver spirals and asterisks,
Shoot and tremble in a mist
Peppered with mauve and amethyst.

I shine in the windows and light up the trees,
And all because I hate you, if you please.

And when you meet me, you rend asunder
And go up in a flaming wonder
Of saffron cubes, and crimson moons,
And wheels all amaranths and maroons.

Golden lozenges and spades Arrows of malachites and jades,
Patens of copper, azure sheaves.
As you mount, you flash in the glossy leaves.

Such fireworks as we make, we two!
Because you hate me and I hate you.

Published April 1915 in The Atlantic Monthly


Grave of Amy Lowell in Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Amy Lowell was born in Brookline, Massachusetts on February 9, 1874 into a prominent Boston, Massachusetts family. One of her brothers, Percival Lowell, was a famous astronomer who predicted the existence of Pluto. Another brother, Abbott Lawrence Lowell, served as president of Harvard University for several years. However, Amy herself never attended college, she made up for this loss of privilege with avid reading, almost obsessive.
Lowell lived as a socialite for much of her life. She traveled widely and turned to poetry in 1902 after being inspired by the European actress Eleonora Duse. Amy’s first publication came in 1910 in the Atlantic Monthly and her first poetry publication, A Dome of Many-Coloured Glass, came just two years later.
That same year (1912), Miss Lowell met another actress, Ada Dwyer Russell, and quickly came attached, both physically and emotionally inspiring her to write her most exotic work. The two traveled together throughout the world, but it was in England where Lowell met Ezra Pound, who was once a major critic and influence on her work.
Lowell, who was once called a “hippopoetess” by Pound, dressed in manly clothing, short hair, wore a pince-nez and smoked cigars. Her lifestyle led her to be largely overweight.
Her writings included several critical works on French literature and a biography of John Keats.
Amy Lowell died of a cerebral hemorrhage on May 12, 1925, just a year before she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for What’s O’Clock. Lowell’s works were forgotten for many years, however, recently her works have resurged due to her lesbian themes and love poems to Ada Dwyer Russell.