Poem 63: On a dahlia

[Many thanks to Uma for the beautiful photograph.  Uma is a wonderful writer (and photographer).

The form selected for this week is an adaptation of the Vietnamese Luc bat. It is an adaptation of the poetic form because Vietnamese is a tonal language and it cannot be imitated in English. The syllable count and the rhyming pattern have been adhered to!]

The dahlia opens slow
before it makes a show, bright red,
and then the full-faced head
bends down towards its bed and bows;
as if to say the hours
of fleeting life somehow are short.
Its beauty comes to naught
as petals fall uncaught and die.

Some say each flower shall leave
a cob, a pod of seeds, a cone,
from which will spring the bones
of new flowers, new fruit, grown; and yet,
lest ever I forget,
my death shall not beget new grain
to grow in hope, in pain,
in love, in loss, in gain, in joy.

17 thoughts on “Poem 63: On a dahlia

  1. Shubha Athavale

    The flower and the poem are a “thing of beauty, is a joy forever”. Loved this poem Bruce.

    I read your poem and went into the backyard to put the washing on the line and saw my Zucchini with five or six golden yellow flowers

    Truer words never spoken
    Some say each flower shall leave
    a cob, a pod of seeds, a cone,
    from which will spring the bones
    of new flowers, new fruit, grown;

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thank you, Shubha. I am experiencing a zucchini glut – time to make and freeze the ratatouille for winter I think – with all the left overs in the garden! This year I tried a new variety – they are bright yellow zucchinis (the fruit as well as the flower).

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  2. umashankar

    That is a stunning poem, Bruce. First, the gorgeous blooming and equally graceful fading of the dahlias hint at the impermanence of beauty and speak about Nature’s cycles too. The imagery serves as a contrast to underscore the poet’s mortality in the following stanza, devoid of the regenerative window. Let me say this, Bruce: our words are the dahlias we will leave behind as buds.

    It is an achingly glamourous, sad and lyrical poem. It’s appeal is immediately universal, but it does emit the scent of the format you have chosen. I am proud my picture was chosen to grace this beauty.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thanks so much, Uma, and thanks too for the use of the photo.
      I’m not 100% sure as to how true I am to the Vietnamese form, but I’ve found that it seems to (as you say) have it’s own scent – which I think is true for most tried and true poetic forms.
      I’m trying to compose a Luc Bat each week for February. The next one (next Thursday) is my favourite. By then we will have had the treat of Part 3 (the conclusion) of your blog story!

      Like

      Reply
      1. umashankar

        Today, as I walked past the dahlia whose youth has been frozen forever at your blog, it smiled. I look forward to reading your favourite Luck bat next week.

        The conclusion is truly waiting in the wings, and in spite of grave temptations, I have resisted changing the end.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply

I delight in having my dull life coloured by your intelligent perceptions, your wit, and your vivacity.

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