Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter Garden

The Winter played a trick at my expense,
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
purple tulip--royalty



ayala said...

Gorgeous poem! Thank you for your kind comment. I am coping...some days are harder than others. Love the poem!

Anonymous said...

Once again, this is a poem for the sidebar. Each new poem seems better than most of those you've previously written. I think while you're on staycation, your goal is to outdo yourself every day. And you're doing it, over and over again.

hedgewitch said...

Here you use the rich language of flowers the way its meant to be done, each petal, so fragile, so doomed to die, elevated to an immortal symbol even as it fades. Love is never richer than when it sprouts these tear-irrigated crops, and never bleaker, either. The Hag of Winter, the cailleach, the Snow will cover her in the end. Beautiful, soft snowfall of regret and yearning, and makes me want to use the french word tristesse because English is not subtle enough for these emotions.

Kerry O'Connor said...

Aaaah! A winter love poem! It is just sublime, Shay. I love the way you inverted the usual connotation of the the season, to show the love that thrives through cold times, and flowers of spring are merely an intrusion.

So many lines I love, but I'll repeat this one for the way it sings along the tongue:

pansies to mark the path by which the lost love leaves...

Brian Miller said...

gosh shay, this is how you weave the symbolism of the flowers into this...appropo as well considering how things are growing out of season right now due to the weird seasons and dying just as fast when the freeze finally hit....beautiful piece...

Mama Zen said...

"sent me a chill beyond all warming,
made from the distance between My Love's skin and mine."

How freaking gorgeous is that?

Sioux said...

Mama Zen said it--"freaking gorgeous."

Falling snow--You show off ;)

(And Blue is my favorite Joni Mitchell album, although it doesn't have "Raised on Robbery" which is more fun that Joni usually has.)

HermanTurnip said...

Can't thank you enough for including descriptions of what each flower means. It helped me immensely in deciphering this piece.

Oh, and +1 for the Joni Mitchell video!

Joanna Jenkins said...

This is perfect! Love the flowers and how you used them to tell the story.
Beautiful, as always.
xo jj

Lynn said...

Love that you got the flowers all in there and then gave us their meaning.

Mr Puddy said...

I think I go for alyssum ; )

Daryl said...

brought some spring with those words you use to paint images

Lolamouse said...

Looks like we both have winter on the brain! Love all the flower symbolism too and Joni is always great!

Anonymous said...

i bet you used the label "symbology for dummies" special for me, didn't ya?

{go back to duckin' work!}

{oops! typo, but you know what i mean!}