Mrs Connolly’s garden was a picture of tidiness. She was a tidy person. She lived next door to a large cemetery and was delighted that the cemetery was kept so shipshape. It was as if her garden sprawled over quite a few acres with neat rows of stone monuments.
Mrs Connolly liked to wander the cemetery. She knew the graves quite well. In particular, she knew the graves that were visited regularly, and those visited once a year on an anniversary, and those never visited. Most times, especially with the once-a-year visitors, flowers would be left on the graves. Mrs Connolly found it rather moving.
Of course, those who placed flowers every week removed the previous week’s bouquets. The once-a-year visitors’ flowers were often left to wilt.
The inside of Mrs Connolly’s house too, was a picture of tidiness. And always with lots and lots of flowers.
When birds begin to sing
I know with joy that spring is near.
Somehow, this time of year,
the birds join up in pairs and build
nests, lay eggs in song-filled
days, feed, are never stilled lest
the fledglings leave the nest too soon.
Fresh things are everywhere!
Flowers bloom! Fruit forms! The air – it cries
new life! And butterflies!
And bees! Yet here, in my old, spent
winter of discontent
I must not not forget to turn
the page, the page, the page.
Diana won first place at the local agricultural show for her pansies in a pot. The citation citated: First place goes to Diana for her pansies in a pot in the Pansies in a Pot section of the Potted Plants Section of the Flower Section of the Gardening Section of the Agricultural Show.
Diana was enormously proud of her achievement. “It’s not everyone,” said Diana, “who is awarded first place for her pansies in a pot in the Pansies in a Pot section of the Potted Plants Section of the Flower Section of the Gardening Section of the Agricultural Show.”
When she walked along the street Diana knew that people were looking at her. Jealousy is an insidious thing. She could feel their spite as they stared. They were talking about her behind her back in a disparaging and offensive manner.
“Not everyone,” said Diana, “can be a winner.”
“When she went into a plant shop she always asked if they had any pansies in a pot. She didn’t want to buy any, of course. She was simply using it as an opener to tell the shop keeper of her stunning triumph.
The shop keepers declared each time that they had never even heard of such an award – let alone the winner.
Jealousy is an insidious thing, oh yes, is it not? said Diana.
The path from my front door
is lined with maybe more than flowers;
each bloom bud stands somehow
for love, or joyful vows, or truth…
Since ancient times virtues
lived nestled in a blue or red,
pink or white, petal bed:
love felt but never said, for fear;
the grace of rue; the cheer
of daisies; phlox that cares, adores!
And yet my pathway walk
is lined with silent thoughts, harsher
than thistles of a marsh;
despair that wilts and lasts; bereft
of hope, since when you left;
footsteps fading, heart cleft, too late
to lock the garden gate,
too late to hide the hate that seethes
along the path, in trees,
in flowers, in seeds, from my front door.
All day I think my ears will catch
the lifting of the latch.
(The form of this month’s poems is based on the Vietnamese luc bat).
[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.