A poem for a sunny spring Monday

I first heard this last Sunday in church, read by its author, as the second reading of the service. I’m not a big poetry fan, but when I heard the reading I thought it was funny, timely, genuine, and thoughtful.

She associates her daughter’s name with flowers. That’s nice. My daughter’s named after a bottle of red and a bottle of white. That’ll probably end in therapy for her, not a poem.

Then the poem was published in the Buffalo News yesterday. Does your newspaper still publish locally-written poetry? When I saw it there, I figure it was an omen that it should be a post – otherwise I’ll keep running across it. So here it is.

Chrysanthemum, I say, letting the name Melt on the tongue like toffee. 
Delphinium, hibiscus, hollyhock, these words and marigold bundle in my head. 
Their sounds mean more to me than scent or hue. 
I do not need to pluck them from the earth, cutting and pruning, placing them in vases, to savor their elaborate syllables.
Once long ago a small boy said: There are flowers in my yard named for your daughter Cynthia. 
There are? I asked, incredulous. Which ones are those? 
For Cynthia, he said, pointing out forsythia, its golden boughs gilding the picket fence.
Whenever since I see forsythia, I murmur Cynthia. 
Oh, there she is. Nor do I skip the fragrant hyacinth, which sounds a lot to me like Hiya Cynth. 
My lucky girl, to be defined by flowers.
As I sink down in dark these winter days, I gather flowers by their vibrant names 
To keep me company within my house: laurel, larkspur, trillium, I say out loud. 
Geranium, begonia, columbine. 
Look, they fill and overflow the crystal bowls my mother left to me. 
Abundantly, they bow and bend, invisible. 

Baird is the poet-in-residence at Buffalo Seminary and a co-editor of Earth’s Daughters magazine. Her full-length collection of poems “In Advance of All Parting” won the 2009 White Pine Poetry Prize.

I have a long-time garden blog, a popular garden on America's largest garden tour, and have co-written a book on garden design titled, "Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs" When I'm not doing all that, I am an advertising designer always out looking to design things to promote your business. Look me up at #jcharlier.

0 comments on “A poem for a sunny spring Monday

  1. Just what I needed on a gray spring day.


  2. Thank you for sharing it. Just lovely.


  3. I've gone back and re-read it a few more times and like it even more. Best when read aloud.


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