Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Repost: Puzzle in the Language of Flowers

Puzzle in the Language of Flowers
(translation below)

I dump the puzzle box
out on the ground
each piece becomes a
flower in yesterday’s bouquet,
bone of the skeleton to come.

I cup concave paper polygons
knobbed cardboard segments
that seem to be part of an eyelash,
but are really sprigs of acacia
lacy as midnight's winking, biting as memory’s stems,

then a misshapen lump of astringent
yellow sun, the witch hazel beginning.
That obstinate wedge of inverted azure sky
must be the muted trumpet of a
morning glory, heavenly blue still.

There, an end piece,
frame that hangs the whole,
surprises the hand by jumping up
a striped carnation pinwheeled 
with monotonous grief
that makes me recoil
throwing it
far across the muddy ground,
lost on the moss where it
comes to rest just bones, 

tiny, articulated phalanges,
the frontal and parietal
temporal, occipital, mandible
white as frost; out of the cardboard jaw
perhaps you see a few daisies growing

among the marigolds, rosemary and rue
there for a century’s moment till
the next wildfire passes through.

~October 2011
revised October 2013

Process Notes:

acacia = secret love
witch hazel=magic spell
morning glory=love in vain
striped carnation=refusal
marigold=pain and grief 
daisy=innocence, simplicity, cheer, true love 

 Posted for     real toads
Kerry's Wednesday Challenge: The Language of Flowers
Please forgive the repost, dear toads and readers. I am still able to get online for short times, but am unable to upload or access anything on my hard drive. The temptation to respond was too great, however, so I just raided my online photo storage for an old pic and cut and pasted this piece for Kerry's wonderful prompt. I'm not able to do much writing atm, but I felt that this one suited the challenge, and it's been out of circulation a long time.  I will visit back as I can. Thanks for reading.

Photo: Heirloom rose 'The Fairy' growing wild on the old barn (c) joyannjones 2010 


  1. I love " biting as memory's stems", and the "obstinate wedge of azure sky fitting no where" is a really cool description". I have some familiarity with monotonous grief, as well. I enjoyed this poem so much, Joy, and am always happy to read you, under any circumstances.

  2. I love this poem~ I am so glad you joined in Hedge. I hope all is well soon~

    I so enjoyed all the playful terms and how well you incorporated them in this charming verse~

  3. Love the thankful you shared it. I hope your computer woes are worked out soon. I have gotten in the habit of backing up everything each month...I did have online back-up, but that filled up way too quickly with all my photographs.

  4. I'm just so glad you got online at all, knowing how you've been struggling with technology.
    This is a wonderful write. You had me at
    "a flower in yesterday’s bouquet,
    bone of the skeleton to come."
    Luv, K

  5. Beautiful ! I love this poem .

  6. the overall texture of this being a puzzle...i really like that....and the reactions as we sort through the makes for an overall metaphor that really works nice....the stripe pinwheel carnation of grief as interesting contrast of image and feel.

    hope your computer ails are nearing over my friend..

  7. No one understands the language of flowers better than our Hedgewitch. Thank you for including a list of meanings, for the sake of interest, though your poem does not need it to be meaningful.

  8. I hadn't read this before and love the juxtaposition of flowers and bones in your puzzle imagery.

  9. This is just a beautiful poem and I am so glad that you reposted it as I had not seen it before. It is wonderful that it really does move from puzzle to actual landscape to emotional and historical landscapes--I really did not feel it needed a guide to the meanings, though I suppose that may heighten the poignancy--honestly, for me it is more poignant just thinking about the actual flowers and your own language --phrases that jump out-- all of it--but especially those mismatches of objects in a puzzle -- the acacia eye lash-the sky morning glory--that one is especially fabulous--since what is a blue sky when one wakes but morning's glory--the monotonous grief of the carnation -- the rue - the century's moment--the flowers are an incredibly strong metaphor for the persistance yet fragility of life--how we hate that part of it all - and the puzzle of it-- it's just a terrific metaphor beautifully executed--quite dazzling --the stanza that most affected me--

    There, an end piece,

    frame that hangs the whole,

    surprises the hand by jumping up

    a striped carnation pinwheeled

    with monotonous grief


    something about the end piece being what hangs it all -- and the sky being only a littl bit of it and monotonous grief is something that will sit with me (as it does anyway, but now I have a name for it.) Thanks. k.

    1. Thanks so much, k. Yes, there is nothing so surprising as the strength and force of that pinwheel and especially it's hypnotic monotony--I'm glad this one worked for you.

  10. damn gremlins. this is a sinuous and thoughtful write ~ M

  11. oohhhh "astringent yellow sun," among other wonders within. gorgeous!

  12. Wow - plugging in all the "meanings' was miraculous as I understood it. Liked it a lot before just for the sound. I have never seen this beauty, so I, for one, am glad you reposted.

  13. Excellent!! I'm glad you did so that I could read it...I love the idea of puzzle pieces and filling in the picture...

    This is my favorite:

    "that makes me recoil
    throwing it
    far across the muddy ground,
    lost on the moss where it
    comes to rest just bones, "

    Because of the inner rhymes and the motion in it and the word "recoil," so expressive.

    So much enjoyed this poem, Hedge!!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats

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