Friday, November 16, 2012

Poetry Friday: Flowers

I just finished reading The Language of Flowers, and even before that I was thinking about flowers. I have a flower poem I've been working on for over a month on my desktop, and a flower post in my mind, but while I lack time to work on these things, here's a flower poem from someone else. I have been using this sonnet for a while with my students, but didn't realize that the author was practically a neighbor, from Guyana. You can get more information about him at the link at the end of the post.


I have never learnt the names of flowers.
From beginning, my world has been a place
Of pot-holed streets where thick, sluggish gutters race
In slow time, away from garbage heaps and sewers
Past blanched old houses around which cowers
Stagnant earth. There, scarce green thing grew to chase
The dull-gray squalor of sick dust; no trace
Of plant save few sparse weeds; just these, no flowers.

One day, they cleared a space and made a park
There in the city’s slums; and suddenly
Came stark glory like lightning in the dark,
While perfume and bright petals thundered slowly.
I learnt no names, but hue, shape and scent mark
My mind, even now, with symbols holy.

Dennis Craig

I love the picture this poem paints of flowers in the middle of a dirty city, and how even a tough kid who knew nothing about flowers found them "holy."  I don't know many of their names either - though I'm learning more - but I too love their "stark glory like lightning in the dark."

Photo Credit: Matsu 

Here's more information about Dennis Craig.

And here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.


Anastasia Suen said...

"and suddenly
Came stark glory like lightning in the dark"

Love this!

jama said...

Thanks for introducing me to a new-to-me poet today, Ruth. Nice contrasts in the poem. I find the language of flowers fascinating!

Liz Steinglass said...

I was going to pick out the same words Anastasia did. They are sudden and enlightening just like lightning. There's something nice about not knowing their names and just taking them in as they are.

Linda at teacherdance said...

I will repeat, like others, that 'stark glory like lightning in the dark' is a wonderful line. Nice story within the poem, too. Thanks Ruth.

Tabatha said...

I like that he wrote about this in a sonnet. What an interesting mix: the bleak neighborhood, the flowers, and a traditional poetry form. They complement each other well. Love the ending.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

While perfume and bright petals thundered slowly.
What a powerful line - it stands in such stark contrast to all the squalor described in the lines above - a line of hope. Thanks for sharing this, Ruth.

Irene said...

That's amazing. You'd think he was writing about Port-au-Prince! The holiness of beauty is utterly striking.

Robyn Hood Black said...

Gorgeous ending - thank you for sharing, Ruth!