A Vivid Poem



Here’s a poem by Ellen Bryant Voigt.  The descriptions are so vivid that I could see them clearly.  It’s also appropriate for the flowers this time of year here.

Dooryard Flower
By Ellen Bryant Voigt

Because you are sick I want to bring you flowers,
flowers from the landscape that you love—
because it is your birthday and you’re sick
I want to bring the outdoors inside,
the natural and the wild, picked by hand,
but nothing is blooming here but daffodils,
archipelagic in the short green
early grass, erupted
bulbs planted decades before we came,
the edge of where a garden once was kept
extended now in a string of islands I straddle
as in a fairy tale, harvesting,
not taking the single blossom from a clump
but thinning where they’re thickest, tall-stemmed
from the mother patch, dwarf to the west, most
fully opened, a loosened whorl,
one with a pale spider luffing her thread,
one with a slow beetle chewing the lip, a few
with what’s almost a lion’s mane,
and because there is a shadow on your lungs, your liver,
and elsewhere, hidden,
some of those with delicate green
streaks in the clown’s ruff (corolla
actually made from adapted leaves), and more
right this moment starting to unfold, I’ve gathered
my two fists full, I carry them like a bride,
I am bringing you the only glorious thing
in the yards and fields between my house and yours,
none of the tulips budded yet, the lilac
a sheaf of sticks, the apple trees
withheld, the birch unleaved—
it could still be winter here, were it not
for green dotted with gold, but you won’t wait
for dogtoothed violets, trillium under the pines,
and who could bear azaleas, dogwood, early profuse rose
of somewhere else when you’re assaulted here, early May,
not any calm narcissus, orange corona
on scalloped white, not even it’s slender stalk
in a fountain of leaves, no stiff cornets of the honest
jonquils, gendered parts upthrust in brass and cream:
just this common flash in anyone’s yard,
scrambled cluster of petals
crayon-yellow, as in a child’s crawing of the sun,
I’m bringing you a sun, a children’s choir, host
of transient voices, first bright
splash in the gray exhausted world, a feast
of the dooryard flower we call butter-and-egg.




<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/vivid/”>Vivid</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on “A Vivid Poem

  1. Near where I used to live decades ago was a property absolutely taken over by daffodils in the early spring. One of my favorite images. Still love them.

    Liked by 1 person

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