Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Deciduous Bouquet

Deciduous Bouquet

Not a petal,
not thirty petals,
a leaf, and a stem,
damp at the end
where it was

not the shrub
that housed
the flower,

not the unflowered
that grows down
under it in the dirt,

not a bedful of petals
and mud and twigs,

not the clods
of soil my shoes

not a green wad
of floral tape,

not a vase,

not scissors or shears
or a knife,

only the knowledge
that, standing before
the hydrangea,
I think of you.


  1. The shadowshrub lines are especially clever, giving an absence positive traits. Which, to me, is a tiny representation of the whole poem.

    "This is not about the following things. The following things, however, do exist."

  2. Rodden's paper cuts are wonderful.

    Skillful use of repetition of denial in this poem. What's provocative, of course, is that we think we can be so sure of what something is not and then give in to perceptions of what we think is real.

  3. I am not sure why I like this so much! Maybe you can tell me. : )

  4. I like this set-up, but, alas, I don't know the hydrangea, so much is lost on me. I've looked it up and . . . am I a moron to be reminded of a peony?

    And I had to look up peonies years ago to make more sense of that line from Keats. So, for years now, I've thought of peonies as a dandy extravagance in nature. But look how far I am from your poem.

    I also wonder if the speaker loves the hydrangea itself or only the person who (presumably) has sent it to her. What, if anything, do the hydrangea and the sender have in common?

    I'm not sure I have a point, except to say that I personally have always had trouble with poems that were really specific in their allusions (if allusion is the right word here) to things I don't know, whether it's flowers, birds, or other poets.

    If I'm being a study in irrelevance or obtuseness, I apologize. At least I'm admitting that possibility.

  5. Our hydrangeas are blooming like crazy. The next time I cut a bouquet I will think of this poem and of you Hannah. Lovely.


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