GloPoWriMo – Day 11

The Earth Laughs in Flowers

Every morning she leaves with a pocketful of posies
my sweet Rosie
to tend the bodies of the souls
waiting in hospice

Daisies flounce in a vase on Mrs. Winters’ bookcase.
“What are those stinky flowers doing there?”
“Would you like me to move them?”
“Throw them out. Bring me lilacs instead.”

Tassled sweet Williams perfume Sarah’s room.
She whispers something about cotton candy.
My Rosie holds her hand and together
they travel to the Ainsborough County Fair, 1959.

Outside the window of Mr. Ivers’ room bearded iris bloom.
“It’s still spring, is it?” asks his wife,
stuck in the place no season can reach,
the timeless waiting between each heartbeat.

Dandelions and wild mustard
blanket the fields across the street
painting the world yellow
even when none step outside to see.

One morning, she wakes with a fever.
I sprinkle rose petals on our bed.
Before I leave to fix her tea, she grabs my finger.
“I don’t want lillies planted on my grave.”

“Pansies, then?”
“That’ll do.”

Daily Prompt:  “write a poem in which one or more flowers take on specific meanings,” from Na/GloPoWriMo.

Author’s note: The title, of course, comes from Emerson’s “Hamatreya.” It’s a line often quoted in a way that misinterprets the poem’s meaning and theme: It’s not a “happy” quotation, necessarily (unless one is against property ownership or takes heart in the transience of mortal life), for the laughing flowers grow on the graves of the Earth’s “boastful boys,” landlords who claimed to own the land. For me, the poem stands for how brief our lives are–like flowers–while this planet endures. Yeah, even if the climate crisis makes life uninhabitable for people, life will continue here, and beauty will spring up, even if no human eyes are there to see.

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