I want all the flowers
that thrive right away at the start of spring,
that stand alone in the cool noon and the long, chilly
shadows of dawn & dusk and through cold nights.

They take the first chance
opening of light & warmth, to probe out of
the hard, bare dirt, to push past the dry, dead leaves.
They poke up shoots, then leaves, then buds,
then blooms in a bustle to be.
They give the light back as life.
They brighten with the new birds that sing
on budding boughs, all the daylight hours.
They shake & shimmy with the wind,
they quiver through their quick, brisk dance.

Crocus already flared out of winter and went down.
Magnolias have bloomed and greened.
Daffodils still stretch and bob to the new music.
Now pear trees astonish the streets with
all white blossoms for one week, this week,
until the next downpour knocks their
delicacies straight down onto the pavement,
like the tree’s white shadow, like one big bloom.

We find ourselves at a farmer’s market
in the plaza. The crowd buzz and circle
the offerings. The sun is warm at mid-day.
Life will be better from now on. Just add flowers.
Blue hyacinths are plump as balloons, 
thick and upright, fertile for sure.
Pansies flop like puppies
learning to lie down. They collapse on the ground
and lounge about, they shiver with excitement,
they roll and scamper up.
No, pansies aren’t puppies. They’re colorful as kites.
They shake like kites pulling on their strings,
aloft and almost carried away.
Puppies, kites, the fact is, they quiver
and look so deliciously lazy.
 
			But let me show you
what’s come naturally to my garden
within the last year, come on the wind
to take root. The violet is coming,
darkened, burdened with a big heart,
so to speak. Yes, the violet is returning,
the heart-shaped leaves in clusters.

			But there are two kinds of
purple flowers here. See the paler ones, scattered
above the ivy? They bloomed before the violets.
A neighbor told me their name - periwinkle.
I’d known periwinkle only as some fashion shade,
a pastel tone, a water color. It’s this, 
this early, small, strewn bloom.
And it’s called myrtle, too, like Myrtle Avenue
a block away. Are these surviving remnants
of the whole hill’s flowering, centuries ago?
Still finding a place here? Or maybe
they’ve wafted from some other gardener’s
homage to the past or fondness for pale myrtle.
Or maybe the hill was all another myrtle,
The flowering bush, sacred to Aphrodite.
My mistake: admiring this, the other myrtle.

Here, look closely, if you like.
Its five petals are curved, like
the air-scooping blades of a rotary fan.
The petals come together in a distinct white star,
as clear as the emblems of armies and air corps,
or the sticker on a child’s first homework.
Within the star is a yellow nova halo,
the sun’s horizon or the eye’s iris opening,
looking back at the sun or being the blind sun.

That’s all I know. I look into blossoms and see stars.
Periwinkle bursts over the ground cover ivy.
I’m shaken by the wind, but
I can look up again from the ground,
all the way up in a glance to see stars.

–William Considine


Poetry

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