The Darling Buds- Wild Rose

We were too cold for roses

Or, at least, the delicate roses

Made poor friends with the early frost

But there were always the wild roses

In strange patches and places

They told us the roses grew where bodies were buried

(The more boring explanation was that was where

The warring neighbours dumped their compost

When they were in a fight over where the property lines

Ended)

And, certainly, they bloomed in that eerie

No man’s land – too windy for trees,

Too exposed for shrubs

A heavenly smell that lured small creatures

And small children

All of us fumbling through the thorns

To reach the buds

As we left

I always shuddered a little at the red in the light

In the veins of the petals

Rubbed the cuts on my arms and legs

They may not have started with bodies

But it is hard to touch a rose bush

Once it has gotten a taste

For blood

IMG_1331Wild Rose: Pleasure and Pain

Beauty comes in dangerous packages. Every May, I do a series of poems based on Victorian flower meanings. Welcome to the Darling Buds.


For more obvious and less obvious thorns, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

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The Darling Buds: Chinese Begonia

Our neighbours were less concerned with fences than

Whether or not the trees would blow into their yard

And we largely lived in mutual non-acknowledgement

Unless their cats got into our garden or

Our cats ate their (very expensive) cat food

I used to think they liked us well enough-

We were never loud and neither of our houses

Called for a pox on the other

But, just before they moved and left forever,

They gifted us some Chinese begonia

That proceeded to devour most of the garden

And would have taken over the yard

But for some creative use of plastics and wood chips

I don’t know what moral to take from those startling, aggressive flowers

Maybe beware of neighbours

Bearing ugly plants?

IMG_0770Chinese Begonias- Beware

Every May, I do a series of poems based on Victorian flower meanings. Welcome to the Darling Buds.


For more oblique warnings, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

The Darling Buds- Tulip (Variegated)

Beauty is in:

The smell of rich loam and last fall’s leaves,

Uncovered and building the next leaves,

The next dying flowers.

Beauty is in:

The ragged leaves breaking the frost and debris,

Preparing for the dizzy blossoms to come.

Beauty is in:

The eye of

The storm,

The lost needle, trapped under the wood pile,

The beholder,

Staring down at the glad blossoms,

Joyfully raising their faces to the world.

IMG_0733Variegated Tulip – Beautiful Eyes

Every May, I do a series of poems based on Victorian flower meanings. Welcome to the Darling Buds.


For more visions of beauty, my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, is available here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, can be found here.

Darling Buds- Dandelion

I dream sometimes of the ghosts of dandelions.

Their blossoms do not go quietly into inevitable decay.

Not for them the fate of the cherry  – pretty, ephemeral petals vanishing into the earth.

Instead, dandelions enjoy life only too well.

Their ghosts linger, hollow and frail, spending pieces of themselves on the breeze that they might see even more life, even more colour.

There is less mourning for the loss of their ferocious vitality because they are already planning their next rise, their next grand adventure.

If you pass them by, these small ghost pieces, carried by an indifferent wind-

Greet them as you would a fellow traveler-

The world laid out before their victorious death.

IMG_1951Dandelions- Happiness

The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.


I admire the pursuit of joy, even in the face of tremendous obstacles.  For further adventures involving the pursuit of happiness, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.

 

 

 

 

The Darling Buds- Aster

We measure distance here by road stops.

Safe places to pull over that won’t land you in the river or up the side of a mountain or windshield deep in brush and bracken.

The distance to the nearest town is as far as the spread of some countries, a rich view of isolation made obvious when driving.

You can tell the road stops when you see them.

In the summer months, they’re thick with the flowers whose seeds are carried on tires and in the mud on the bumpers.

The flowers aren’t native –

They come to the places of disturbance –

Frantically grow and seed before the underbrush overtakes them.

With their presence, the road stops become a cacophony of colour, of adventure, of the exotic-

Of unmistakeably alien presences.

Someone’s garden somewhere up the line had asters and they are faithful sentinels of the stops.

They mark the change, the variation in green, in brown that carries the other miles.

They announce the place to rest and also where we have etched a toehold into the land around us.

Asters shove through the native plants, only stymied by the dense thicket under the trees.

The bees upon them sing of change, of shifting lands-

Sing of the rich and uneasy coexistence of the frantic tangle of the forest-

And the careful organization of a long-forgotten garden.

IMG_2054Aster- Variety

The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.


Variety is one of my most constant companions, for good or for ill.  For more explorations of variation and borders, implicit and explicit, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.

 

The Darling Buds- Cherry Blossoms

The barn was old and the forest behind it older.

It hadn’t been reclaimed then, not by the creeping pine and alder.

Instead, the only branches that cracked the rotting wood and curiously investigated the windows belonged to the sprouting cherries.

There’d been a pen once, for pigs or for chickens, I was never sure.

Someone had spit their leftover cherry pits into the mud.

The cherries outlasted the barn animals.

They formed a thicket around the south side of the old barn, so dense that only a very small child could move between them.

I’d sit there sometimes, hidden between the trunks, letting the heavy heat settle over my shoulders.

I learned to love the smell of rotting wood mixed with the sweet, rich taste of blooming cherries.

I tried to plant those cherries elsewhere, but they refused to grow.

That particular brand of magic was confined to that frozen corner, that strange fusion of the past and present.

When that place passed beyond my knowing, I learned to close my eyes.

I learned to call back the sick-sweet taste of the spring air.

To call back the vision of a thousand blossoms, rising forever above my head.

IMG_1866Cherry Blossoms- Education

The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.


I’ve had a number of opportunities for learning. I try to find the value in all of them. For more writing on learning, change, and the value of appreciation, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.

The Darling Buds- Crocus

I was always colder in the city.

Theoretically, that center of humanity and commerce never was anywhere near as cold as the winters I remembered.

But there was some quality: of the air, of the wind, of the never-ending damp.

I was always chilled to the bone-

Shivering, even in the pale light that penetrated the clouds.

It was a strange, slow grind on my mind and body.

Sweaters and heaters didn’t help.

The cold seemed to be as much inside as outside.

When I spoke to those from further north, I always laughed as I looked out the window and told them-

Yes, crocuses in February! You couldn’t even imagine it.

It was only after I got off the phone that I would really look at the flowers.

That I would focus on the beauty as a reward-

And not a punishment.

IMG_1770Crocus: Abuse me not

The Darling Buds are brought to you by Victorian flower meanings, a wanton disregard for photographic technique, and the letter N for Nostalgia.


My grandfather always told me that when you realized you were on the wrong path, the best thing to do was to get off the path. Because no matter how far you traveled, you were still traveling in the wrong direction. For more writing on directions, wrong and otherwise, you can read my fantasy novel, The Guests of Honor, here. Its sequel, With Honor Intact, is also available here.