Today’s prompt over at NaPoWriMo talked about the language of flowers and linked to a Victorian flower meaning archive. Although it was interesting finding out the meaning that the Victorians ascribed to flowers, I feel more moved to write a poem about what flowers mean to me…
Flowers. I have always loved them,
since before I knew what love was.
I just knew they were beautiful, delightful,
alluring, magical, mysterious,
silent jewels receiving the life
they had opened into.
As a child I spent my days outside
and one of my clearest memories
is of a carpet of clover blossoms
and dandelions in my parents’ yard,
glimmering in the bright sun.
I remember picking wildflowers in college
as I hiked the Appalachian trail
and drying them to decorate my dorm room.
I remember buying myself a gorgeous,
lush, big, bright bouquet of roses, lilies
and other cheerful beauties
the first Valentine’s Day after my children’s father
decided his heart was elsewhere.
And just this week my children collected
many spring blossoms to decorate the house;
we had tiny vases and bigger ones
of wildflowers, maple blossoms, flowering cherry,
and maybe a couple of blooms from the neighbors’ yards.
Today I’m on edge because my kids are arguing.
I’d like to become like a flower—
Still, silent, letting the light open me
to my fullest expression of beauty,
my only purpose in life…
Ready for life now.
Like the spring,
jumping up now,
trees that were pink
two days ago
are now green.
Everything is changing,
and I am part of that change.
my petals will scatter,
my leaves will be green too,
stirred in the breeze
giving music to all the trees.
Now just breathe,
You are spring too.
song of life
from every angle
there is suddenly
so much spring
I think I might
lose my head.
It never occurred to me
that this process could be at all gentle,
but now that it is slowly dawning on me,
gentleness is what I want.
I want to transform gradually,
wake up to the light
the way flowers awaken in spring—
when the ground softens and warms
and there is no other choice
but to blossom.
In this world where everything has died
I notice the silence above all.
Sometimes a car passes by
reminding me that life goes on for others,
But in here, in this house,
everything has died.
I buy myself some flowers
and for a few days
their sweet scent reminds me of living…
but as all living things must,
the flowers wilt and decay
and now I am responsible for
disposing of their remains.
If only the remains of my marriage
could be thrown out like the spent flowers.
Its faded scent lingers,
and so do all the fallen petals
of the hope I kept alive for so long.
My children are with him tonight.
He took our two cats as well;
it’s eerily silent here.
Silent like death.
Now here I am,
listening to this absence of sound
inside a home once raucous
with the symphony of existence.
A car passes by now,
reminding me of the life that goes on out there.
The man who was my valentine
for the last eight years
is with someone else tonight
and so I bought myself flowers.
I am my own lover.
I am my own protector.
I am my own champion.
I am my own valentine.
I love the woman I am.
I love her fiercely.
I was caught in a story today,
a story about not being prepared enough,
organized enough, motivated enough,
not a good enough planner,
not thoughtful enough.
It was a story about being selfish,
wrapped up in my own interests…
not good enough.
And then the plant spirits called me outside.
The sun shone on me,
the breeze blew through me,
and I thrust my hands into the earth
again and again.
When I looked up,
there were beautiful plants
in all our pots and containers
and an hour had passed.
The anxiety was gone,
and so was the self-effacing self-talk.
Thank you Nature for saving me again.
All around me the cherry tree rains down its soft white petals
and springtime in full swing dances a harmony of every color.
In the winter time, I close my eyes and dream of white and yellow
crocuses, the first signs of spring and everywhere, sweet flowers.
Now, spring in full bloom, movement, buzzing from buds abounding
I hear the call to blossom myself and listen for a deeper tone resounding.
Something about the sun shining and fat bees hovering on the breeze
as I eat my lunch, everywhere it’s alive, singing in the blinding sun.
No more words. No rhymes. No measure or meter or time.
Just spring and sun and breeze and life and sweet sweet flowers.
At first I wanted to follow the NaPoWriMo prompt for the day. Then I saw that I would need to put a lot more time into choosing a phrase or a group of sounds that bore repeating. Perhaps a ghazal will come tumbling out another time…
heavenly scents in the air
a divine breeze
the happy chatter of many children
running, leaping, bounding
up and down ramps
skipping along spiral staircases
zooming through alcoves
where bubbling fountains
sing a most cheerful song.
Pineapples growing alongside
tomatoes, alyssum and cyclamen,
nectarines in full glorious bloom,
a kumquat tree heavenly laden with fruit,
orchids dangling from every nook and cranny,
bonsai older than my grandmother
banana trees, ferns, rose, hibiscus–
such a marvel for the senses.
One afternoon in the Conservatory
at Longwood Gardens
and I remember
what I love so much about nature,
Tending the garden today…
pulling weeds, watering,
I’m reminded how much of life
is just like gardening.
We can cultivate the good qualities
and eradicate the not so virtuous ones.
Is your garden full of weeds?
Do you want to make room for
stunning flowers to bloom?
How we garden reflects our personalities–
do you keep a wild cottage garden,
or do you like things neat and tidy and planned?
Just a little care can go a long way.
Plant the seeds of your dreams and intentions,
and give them your attention; nurture them.
And patiently, patiently, watch them grow.