Friday, January 11, 2013

Immortelles






Immortelles


Strawflower memories long picked,
so delicate now, desiccated, thin,
pale lime rose as sunset gathers thick--
I hold them pressed within my shadow book
petal by paper petal flat and dry,
pastel on the final page as a fading sigh.

An eyebrow here above an eye of gold,
there a curving wave of steelhard hip
fiddlehead stringing a twine of vining leg
light as terry toweling loosely rolled,
white where you put it once in trust to sleep
across my waist when time was sounding deep.

I examine every rescued immortelle
with eyes for fingers before it slips to dust,
float it from the place it marks like stone;
put away the ochre stain, the dark blood's rust,
the thorns, the weeds, the rocksalt wellspring floods--
I turn the pages past to reach sealed buds,

choose their morning cinnamon skin anew,
smell the amber warmth spill periwinkle blue
from where I sit being plundered by the roots.
Under the sunblind everlasting sky, ruffled faces
open upward, delicate, alive: my song decked
strawflower memories, long picked.




~April 2012, revised January 2013





posted for   real toads
 Fireblossom Friday
Challenge:Doubletalk
The ever-amazing Fireblossom is like Ike and Tina, she never does nothin' 'nice and easy.' This time, she wants us to begin and end a poem with the same line, yet make the meaning totally different in each case. Yeesh. I've been up all night trying to get this one right.  


Process note: immortelle — n    everlasting , Also called: everlasting flower:  any of various plants, mostly of the family Asteraceae  (composites), that retain their colour when dried, esp Xeranthemum annuum
~World English Dictionary


Header Image: Immortelles, by Stefan Lucian
Public domain, via wikipaintings.org
Shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Only License

31 comments:

  1. My grandmother called these paper flowers and had some in every bedroom years after she closed her bed and breakfast. Your poem does more than Fireblossom requests. As the narrator reads the artifacts and page rubbings of pressed flowers and comes to the buds, she relives her aging, hears her memories, feels down into the bare stems of life, "long picked." WOW!

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  2. I want to read this again and again...the beauty of the lines...the rhythm...the meaning...incredibly good. Took you all night? Would take some of us a lifetime!

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  3. Love the unique stamp of your personal attic, Hedge!

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  4. a very very very good night's work, I adore it

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  5. seriously enchanting hedge....i think it is the rhythm but also your very intentional use of language in this as well...the last line of each stanza as well, or at least most, give a turn emotionally...this is well crafted...from where i sit plundered by the roots was a line that jumped out at me as well...

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  6. This actually seems to me to trace a kind of night, from the lime green rose of sun set, the leg around the waist of sleep, and the buds opening in a morning. It is very well-crafted - the lines and images and colors especially so wonderful and lots of interesting combinations. Really great combinations of the botanic and the emotive! k.

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    1. PS _ great subject and metaphor and so poetic. This one is rather the opposite of that Tithonus myth - where Cricket guy kind of buds in immortality - allowed to refresh, as it were. I am always conscious of what a poet you are - I tend to turn everything into narrative (which is why I really should go back to that) but you are able to make poetry out of really just about anything. k.

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    2. I have a hard time with poetry with no narrative, so I don't see it ever as a negative--I do spew out more towards the lyric end of things, though I guess. Plenty of room for both(all)styles within this poetry basket thing. The problem is doing them well, which you always do, k. You really know how to work with detail yourself, and that's a skill that serves both prose and poetry. Thanks for the kind words. I'm going to have to go back and read that other one now, as it has faded from my short-term memory.

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  7. I feel like I've been... transported. So enjoyable to read.

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  8. I love the move from the dried flowers so well documented with fading colour and memory to the place where living everlastings grow, and the memories become real too.

    This is a fabulous, multi-layered description of the human heart and how importance may be attached to inanimate objects. I can only sigh to recognize the complexity of being alive.

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  9. I love the layers you cast! This is enchanting and I too call them paper flowers. You have cast a story between the layers of these fragile blooms...I'm in awe!

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  10. glad to know at least that it took you all night to create a piece of such intricate beauty and strength. yowza, wonderful.

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  11. As I often feel and sometimes tell you, your you paint with words. I truly had hoped to read a few poems (yours included) and have my daughter paint as I did so. But we were all so sick this holiday. I will do so someday, most likely over the summer. I can't pick out a favorite, but I was struck by "pastel on the final page as a fading sigh."

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear you all were sick, not just now, but over the holidays. Uck. Thank you so much for your artist's visual perspective Margaret, and I hope you feel better soon.

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  12. Such a beautiful word painting I had to read to a couple times so I could concentrate on its meaning! I used to have these growing in my yard but I have not thought of them for a while. Thanks.

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  13. Holy cow...you don't do anything by halves either! That's really a masterpiece Joy.

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  14. May I start with a detail? I always admire how you punctuate your poems. That may sound like a trifle, but in poetry, it never is. Look at your penultimate stanza, and how you've punctuated it; it's a language within a language, leading the reader to take in each phrase as you intended it when you write it. It's no small achievement to get it right. I give a lot of attention to it when i write, and clearly, so do you. Your readers are the richer for that.

    Now then, this poem...I love the (literal) subject you have chosen, dried flowers. That's a rich subject for a poem, and you, our gardening poet, have taken it and made something remarkable with it. The pace of this is slow, like seasons (both the four familiar ones, and then metaphorical ones as well), and will not be hurried, nor should it be. This is full of a life considered, and has the feel of a looking-back and being reconciled. There is peace here, and something going forward. I can't tell you how much I enjoy and admire it, when you work like this.

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  15. PS--I LOVE the Ike & Tina bit. Ha!

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  16. This has such rich, delicate beauty. I'm bald.

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  17. Recently a friend asked me if I thought about my mortality (a fair question as we are both in our 70's)... it took me a few minutes to think about her question, and to reply. I have copied and printed your poem ... a gift for my friend who struggles with the concept ... life is amazing. Thank you for this poem.

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    1. Thank you, Helen, for your appreciation. Yes, time looks a bit different from this end, and mortality is not just a vague far-off concept any more.

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  18. I too look at mortality with a different lens these days. Your poem is one of peace of the beauty of life even when it is a straw flower. I was asked to help someone write about Alzheimer's because my mother suffered from it. It was so difficult to relive those moments and reading this brought some peace into my fragile day.

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    1. I'm so glad, Susie. Sometimes you have to look very hard for peace, but I do believe it's within us and never really goes anywhere, just gets covered up. Thanks for your very kind words.

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  19. I have a list in my head of words I only get from Hedge poetry...and its getting rather long. I could see you sitting with the ancients weaving words into rugs and preserving history with all the colors of the rainbow and then some. this was spellbinding, I just hope its not some sort of curse....then I would be screwed...lol. Amazing Joy.

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    1. More of a benediction, I hope. Thanks, Corey. I can't help my antiquated style, I'm afraid, but if it occasionally works, I'm happy.

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  20. Occasionally...pshawwwww. Haven't seen one yet that hasn't impressed me...just saying'. And that was no crack about style or age, just the feel of the poem which was epic at very least.

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    1. Oh I certainly didn't take it that way, Corey! I just have been told before my style is a bit...archaic--and I'm very proud of that. ;_)I took it all as a sincere and gracious compliment, and I thank you for it. Sorry to be so out of bloggering around these days. I owe you a visit, if only to make sure you keep surviving your weekends. :P

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  21. I've been trying to post this for 2 days so I hope this goes through. I'm staying in Trinidad and they have a lovely tree here called the immortelle. It has orange flowers, almost neon, and is gorgeous when in bloom. If I get a photo (they're very tall) I'll send it to you.

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  22. ..i kick myself for not visiting earlier...so much reading to catch up on...miss you over at dverse; i agree with herotosome and Grace that your work is a treasure trove of wise and beautifully written poetry, and I applaud you. you have such a reservoir of words "in your kitchen" and the wherewithal to use them so well..I may never emulate you but i can admire from a distance..wish i could dissect, discuss particulars in your writing more intelligently..like using the correct terms in the study of poetry/literature//but at this time in my life now I am doing a lot just having a basic blog ;) thanks for your inspiration, hedge, I think your break let you recharge..as you are very prolific...or I am so new to the scene..

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  23. wow hedgey....fantastic work here. You moved beyond the fireblossom standard and did so much sandwiched between the same lines. I am sorry for not stopping by sooner, but I have been otherwise engaged to stoopid antics of life on the north plain.

    I truly like what you have done, explaining the life of a flower, but also the life of narrator. The sensuality of the second verse I thought was well paired with the reminiscing of the last stanza. Perhaps I am reading too much into, but that was my take away!

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'Poetry is an echo asking a shadow to dance' ~Carl Sandburg