Monday, April 2, 2012

A poem for a sunny spring Monday

I first heard this last Sunday in church, read by its author, as the second reading of the service. I'm not a big poetry fan, but when I heard the reading I thought it was funny, timely, genuine, and thoughtful.

She associates her daughter's name with flowers. That's nice. My daughter's named after a bottle of red and a bottle of white. That'll probably end in therapy for her, not a poem.

Then the poem was published in the Buffalo News yesterday. Does your newspaper still publish locally-written poetry? When I saw it there, I figure it was an omen that it should be a post - otherwise I'll keep running across it. So here it is.


Chrysanthemum, I say, letting the name Melt on the tongue like toffee. 
Delphinium, hibiscus, hollyhock, these words and marigold bundle in my head. 
Their sounds mean more to me than scent or hue. 
I do not need to pluck them from the earth, cutting and pruning, placing them in vases, to savor their elaborate syllables.
Once long ago a small boy said: There are flowers in my yard named for your daughter Cynthia. 
There are? I asked, incredulous. Which ones are those? 
For Cynthia, he said, pointing out forsythia, its golden boughs gilding the picket fence.
Whenever since I see forsythia, I murmur Cynthia. 
Oh, there she is. Nor do I skip the fragrant hyacinth, which sounds a lot to me like Hiya Cynth. 
My lucky girl, to be defined by flowers.
As I sink down in dark these winter days, I gather flowers by their vibrant names 
To keep me company within my house: laurel, larkspur, trillium, I say out loud. 
Geranium, begonia, columbine. 
Look, they fill and overflow the crystal bowls my mother left to me. 
Abundantly, they bow and bend, invisible. 

- ANSIE BAIRD 
Baird is the poet-in-residence at Buffalo Seminary and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine. Her full-length collection of poems “In Advance of All Parting” won the 2009 White Pine Poetry Prize.

3 comments:

  1. Just what I needed on a gray spring day.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've gone back and re-read it a few more times and like it even more. Best when read aloud.

    ReplyDelete

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