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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

 

 

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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For though it is cold and bitter,

you raise your bright faces

and radiate loveliness—

as if to prove what is delicate

can thrive in adversity.

 

There is so much chill,

and sometimes I forget

I can meet bitterness with softness—

I think I, too, must learn

to speak the language of sharp.

 

But you, pansies, purple and yellow,

white and maroon, you remind me

that softness can be resilient,

that one small beauty

changes everything—

 

and if today we are able to shine,

despite cold, despite callousness,

then shamelessly, splendidly

let us shine.

 

 

 

 

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I resist any kind of discourse that anchors itself in identity and proceeds from there. As I said before, I want to get behind categorical distinctions and find and work with what human beings share and how, potentially, people can coexist in a world that is extraordinarily diverse.

            —Michael D. Jackson, “The Politics of Storytelling” in the Harvard Divinity School News

 

 

At first we just say flower. How

thrilling it is to name. Then it’s

aster. Begonia. Chrysanthemum.

 

We spend our childhood learning

to separate one thing from another.

Daffodil. Edelweiss. Fern. We learn

 

which have five petals, which have six.

We say, “This is a gladiolus, this hyacinth.”

And we fracture the world into separate

 

identities. Iris. Jasmine. Lavender.

Divorcing the world into singular bits.

And then, when we know how to tell

 

one thing from another, perhaps

at last we feel the tug to see not

what makes things different, but

 

what makes things the same. Perhaps

we feel the pleasure that comes

when we start to blur the lines—

 

and once again everything

is flower, and by everything,

I mean everything.

 

 

 

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One Thing to Do With a Fist

 

 

 

wrap it around

a bouquet of gold and orange calendula,

now offer it to someone else—

how easily their smile

opens your hand

 

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For every no I said to you,
I take it back and give you
in its place a bouquet of yesses.

The room is full of bouquets,
blossoms on every surface,
a blush riot of pinks and reds and lavenders,

even here inside of me,
a whole field of wildflowers
open and nod.

Was there really so much refusal?
Oh the unfolding perfume,
it dissolves everything I thought I knew.

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I didn’t really want to send flowers, anyway.
Better to send the blue heron I was watching tonight
as it waded the river. Better to send its ungainly flight,
how it rose liltingly above the cliffs then disappeared.
Better to send the feeling that rose in me when,
like a visual echo, the great bird returned, this time
directly above me, its wings a dark silhouette in the pinking sky.
As it is, I send the silence after, silence the way the water
is silent when it has no shore to kiss. As it is, I send
silence, silent the way the lilies I thought to send
would have opened in your room, silent as their fragrance.

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March sun so warm
I almost believe those yellow flowers
are real.

*

Apricot trees
in first bloom, white and white,
but that is somewhere else.

*

I wish I had
no occasion to send tulips
to room 109.

*

Under microscopes
mutant cells blossom
forget me nots

*

She hands me
a dandelion—an hour later
gold still in my hand.

*

Scent of spring—
even the shadows
grow buds.

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no matter how open
the heart, the eyes can only
follow one snowflake

*

tonight a whole hat
is stitched out of the promise
just two more minutes

*

all these flowers
I’ve learned by proper name
let’s relearn by scent

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