seeing that I am in love
and have been so, for so long--
it scorned my heart for its impossible longing,
and sent out-of-season blooms,
purple and purposeful
to destroy what I cherish most.
At my doorway, lilacs--
guardians late in arriving, My Love having already come
with kindness and claim.
Vexed, the Winter spread iris across the morning,
and set money to buy them in my hand;
but my hand set itself to weaving my beloved's name
into a pattern of desire and rhyme.
The Winter called me a fool,
and sent me a chill beyond all warming,
made from the distance between My Love's skin and mine.
Within it, were folded sly inducements--
snapdragons to find out liars,
asters for the things that fade and die;
pansies to mark the path by which the lost love leaves,
and alyssum as cure for folly
and wounds of every kind.
None of this could break my devotion,
so the Winter showed me bulbs from purple tulips
planted by another hand to rise in Spring
around My Love, to please and keep her--
and a blue clematis
to bind the sting.
lilacs--love's first emotions
iris--wealth, prosperity, fortune
asters--something delicate and dainty
alyssum--treatment for the bite of rabid animals