Peony Palette Cleanser.

June 08, 2007 by susan
Peony in bloom

To atone for mentioning Paris. (H-tip, Will Winter)


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

Posted in


barbara aka babs (not verified) | June 8, 2007 - 6:52am

Well this sure beats the hell out of, "Hey, lookit the pretty peonies."

Ours are just about finished for this season, having reached their lush, fragrant peak last week. And this year, they were especially beautiful, I thought. I loved them. So did the ants.

Strange. Mary Oliver speaks to my heart in spite of the fact that I'm entirely too dense to understand good poetry. I write it sometimes in the privacy of my own keyboard. Probably half the problem. I think poetry must require a quill pen and vellum. Beautiful (though vegan repulsive) instruments.