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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’




They don’t like it. For a day,
maybe two, they’ll hang limp
in the beds. I try to talk them
through it, try to tell them
it will be okay. But no one
wants to hear it will be okay
when it feels as if
the world is ending,
especially not nasturtiums—
nasturtiums can’t hear,
which makes me wonder
how much of what I say
to comfort others is really
intended to comfort myself.
In two days, the nasturtiums
will be upright and bright.
And I’ll praise them, tell them
I knew they could do it,
tell them how resilient they are.

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Wild Iris


 
 
From a handful of wild iris
planted years ago,
dozens of slender spears
and stems now rise beside the pond—
their pale purple flags
wave in allegiance to spring
and each other.
They know how to grow
not just up but to the side,
how to send out lateral roots
that will someday be new blooms.
Old friends are like rhizomes—
connected by invisible roots,
resilient, perceiving the light as good,
but knowing, too, how essential
to grow through the dark.

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How Much Wider?


 
 
Tonight the heart
is a vase filled
with thistles
and lilies, burdock
and roses, knapweed
and voluptuous peonies.
It is perhaps not
the bouquet I would choose,
but it is what is here.
But it’s hard to hold it all,
I say to the world.
And it is. It’s too much,
I say. But is it?
And I’m scared
the vase will break.
But it doesn’t.
Instead it widens
to contain what is in it—
stems of puncturevine
and poppies,
leafy spurge and
delicate lisianthus.
And so I hold it,
I hold it all.
And the vase doesn’t break,
but oh, as it widens,
the ache.

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I want to bring to the doorstep of your heart
a giant bouquet of soft-petalled words,
a lavish bouquet of gratitudes
grown from seed in which each bloom
remembers each time
I watered it, encouraged it,
pulled the weeds from around its stem.
I want to have amended the soil
in which these appreciations grew
with the mycelium of devotion,
the dark compost of love.
It matters, the ways we say thank you.
Those two words disappear from the air
in less than a second,
so is it any wonder, when you
with your love have changed me forever,
that I want to bring you
a whole garden of gratefulnesses
no, a whole field of eternal thank yous
in which every flower is astonishingly open
and the perfume fills
every room in your heart.
 
 

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It’s not that they are hiding—

it’s more that they know

the power of a red dress.

Between slabs of red sandstone,

the tiny yellow green flowers

of the desert paintbrush

decorate themselves

with bright red bracts,

colorful flame-like spears

that attract butterflies,

hummingbirds and bees.

 

It’s what we do to survive,

those of us born plain,

those of us otherwise ignored.

I think of the homely girl I was

who wanted to wear

gold combs in her hair

to the middle school dance,

as if something shiny and bright

might attract the honey boys.

 

I want to go back to that gym

with its streamers and balloons

and take the gold combs

out of her mousy brown hair

and tell her the brightest parts of her

are inside. I want to tell her

that being a small green

and yellow flower

will serve her.

 

I want her to know

that a day will come

when she’ll walk in the desert

and feel so at one

with the cliffs and the scrub brush,

the lichen and the Mormon tea,

and that in that moment

when she loses her sense of herself

and merges with slickrock

and paintbrush and sky

it is then she will be most beautiful.

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IMG_6026

also known as Johnny jump up, heart’s ease, heart’s delight, come and cuddle me

 

 

Into the shade by the porch

bloomed the first wild pansy,

its small yellow face sunny

and eager and open.

 

The Athenians used to make

the tiny flowers into syrup

to moderate anger and

to comfort and strengthen the heart.

 

And here it is today,

small volunteer beauty,

growing in this patch of dirt

where nothing else wants to grow.

 

This tiny garden is but one of many

concurrent realities—others involve

hospitals short of beds, loved ones

gone, doctors scared to go home.

 

Our hearts need strengthening.

Little violet, we’re learning, too,

how to be surrounded by death

and still rise up, bring healing as we bloom.

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The Truth

 

 

Inside the bright words

there are other words

that want to be said—

small words

in dark shells.

.

It reminds me

of the sunflowers

that grew in the fall—

how we loved them

for their golden petals,

 

but they were true

to the small dark seeds

that grew them,

to the small dark seeds

they grew.

 

 

 

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Because I cannot fix her heart,

I plant flowers in the two empty pots

on my mother’s high rise patio.

She’s always loved flowers around the house—

peonies and petunias in Wisconsin,

succulents and larkspur in Colorado.

She taught me when I was a girl

how to deadhead the plants

to produce more blooms,

how to make the snapdragon

open its reptilian mouth, how

to tell the story of Cinderella

by carefully dissecting the bleeding heart,

how to make touch me nots spit their seeds,

and how a few flowers around the home

bring immeasurable joy. And so

I pick out white and blue lobelia and

a soft gray vine and a hot pink begonia

and other flowers and vines I can’t name

and we sit on her patio together

in the late afternoon sun

and arrange the potted plants.

There is something about planting flowers

together that changes the way

you see the flowers—the same way

a soup tastes better when made

by someone who loves you—

and I thrill to think of her

looking out the window and seeing

the bright red geraniums surrounded

by purples and blues and greens

and thinking to herself, wow,

that girl really loves me, and

surely, surely, though it won’t

fix her heart, surely it will do some good,

those draping pink petunias

so familiar, so new.

 

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beside the floodplain

acre after acre of pale blue

thousands of wild iris—

 

just thinking of sharing them

they become (is it possible?)

yes, more beautiful

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Shower

 

 

Beside the dirt road

we find a whole bouquet’s worth

of purple penstemon,

 

pink wild roses, orange

globe mallow, and countless

yellow weeds. My daughter

 

picks them, a bride to joy,

and though there is thunder

it doesn’t rain, except for petals,

 

yellow sweet clover, that

she sprinkles along the dirt

to leave a trail behind us,

 

just in case we get lost, Mom.

she says. Sometimes love

seems to rise right out of the dirt

and damned if somehow

 

on that one-way road

I didn’t get wholly, beautifully,

heart breakingly lost.

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