Peonies

This morning as I was sipping my tea and typing away on my laptop at the kitchen table, my Mom walked in and we took a break to enjoy the garden. I inhaled the gorgeous scent of our beautiful bright pink peony that had just bloomed. I wish there was a poem that could describe this scent – more intense than a rose, sweeter than the best perfume, and more potent than the sultriest bottle of wine. I searched for a poem that would capture my sentiment and found one, by one of my favourite poets, Mary Oliver. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, as well as these pictures of the peonies (bloomed, in bloom, and soon to be bloomed) in my garden.

Peonies

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

— Mary Oliver

In Between The Pauses

Embers of fury

follow me, creating pathways into

the fissures of my heart,

unrelenting in the face of my

determined despair.

Why does the wind blow in the

direction of passivity?

Why do the red birds take me on a

journey without any clues?

The beauty of life seems to radiate the most

in between the pauses.

My soul awaits,

gasping for air,

overwhelmed by the pain and the virtue,

that interlock and intertwine,

and enhance each other through their filters.

The beaten path makes me weary,

yet knows me more than I wish to admit,

reveals more of me with every turn.

The Moment

What is it about poetry that just makes time stand still? It gets me every time! National Poetry Month continues, and I find myself paying more attention to poems and poets – new and old. I came across this beautiful poem by Margaret Atwood just now (is there anything this woman can’t do?!), and I love it. Not sure I totally get it, but love it nonetheless. ;-)

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Somehow even though she writes about unfurling, holding back, taking away, it makes me feel the opposite – letting go, exhaling, being at peace.

“the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.”

I like the imagery of the pivotal moment, after years of a long voyage, standing in the centre of your room, house, or whatever anchor you have, and reflecting on how you got there, and owning your journey and the moment.

I love how she draws a parallel between the moment and layers it with the idea of trees unloosing their soft arms around you…

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Layers and layers and layers of words, that create a poem. Actually Margaret Atwood says exactly this, in a quote of hers that I love:

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Words definitely have power, and she knows how to spin them, craft them, rearrange them, to give them power that last a lifetime.

 

A Plummy Spring

Sometimes at the end of my tutoring sessions, I will work with my students to write a poem about a random topic, or any topic that interests them, or about the current season or holiday. The other day, Miraya and I came up with the following poem about spring. She was delighted today when I asked if I could share our poem on my blog! Here it is:

A Plummy Spring

I thought spring would come,
So I could eat some plums.
But everywhere I look,
I see snow on the ground —
I tried to listen for birds chirping,
but couldn’t hear a sound.
I looked out of my window, and thought:
“Surely, my plums will rot!”
Just then, a little robin flew past my view —
A sign I’m sure,
Perhaps spring is on its way for you too!

Happy first days of spring! :-)

 

Never Mine

I’ll be right there,” she said,

And I knew she

Didn’t really mean it.

But still I waited,

Anticipating that I would kick myself

For allowing myself to feel that

necessary but oh-so-dirty

four Letter word:

H O P E.

I was a sucker for the game,

But why did I feel

That with her,

I was always winning?

That there was always

A little more left

To say,

That even when we kissed,

She was still just a millimeter

Away.