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Poetry and Flowers: A Garden Inside the Words

Once flowers begin to sprout on branches, once swallows fill the skies with chirps, you know spring is here. Countless poems credit spring as their inspiration, and in the spirit of the season, we have selected four flowery poetry to celebrate. Prepare your wicker basket, find a quiet place in a garden, and delve into these poems.

 

A Wreath” by George Herbert 

A wreathèd garland of deservèd praise,
Of praise deservèd, unto Thee I give,
I give to Thee, who knowest all my ways,
My crooked winding ways, wherein I live,—
Wherein I die, not live; for life is straight,
Straight as a line, and ever tends to Thee,
To Thee, who art more far above deceit,
Than deceit seems above simplicity… 

 

To a Friend who sent me some Roses” by John Keats

As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the sky-lark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert;—when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields:
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; ‘twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excelled:
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me
My sense with their deliciousness was spelled:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whispered of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquelled.

 

To The Flowers” by Martha Hoffman 

Bright little day stars
Scattered all over the earth,
Ye drape the house of mourning
And ye deck the hall of mirth. 

Ye are gathered to grace the ballroom,
Ye are borne to the house of prayer,
Ye wither upon the snowy shroud,
Ye fade in the bride’s jewelled hair. 

Ye are relics of bygone ages,
From Eden inherited,
To gladden the homes of the living,
And mourn on the graves of the dead. 

 

Roses” by Louise Driscoll 

You write to me about roses,
About roses opening as roses die.
Always, you say, there are roses,
So that people get used to them
And cease to wonder.
Now I am on a hilltop,
Bare, with a few pine trees
Twisted by an inexhaustible wind,
By a wind that is never tired,
A wind that passes and passes and is never gone.
I cannot think what it would be like for the pine trees
If there were no wind.

Your roses would not be happy on my hilltop.
They would be scornful of my huckleberry bushes
With their plain, blue fruit. 

They would not care for the white meadow-sweet
That leans against a rock.
Roses must have rich soil,
And careful pruning. 

They must be sheltered from the wind and cold
And have stakes to lean upon.
They do not stand alone like the flames of vervain
On my windy hilltop. 

Roses are gifts for lovers.
Lovers have always had much to say about roses.
When you sent me a rose
Folded in a letter,
Did you know I would open it on a hilltop
Where the wind searches me
As it does the pine trees
And my skirts are brushing
The fine flame of the vervain? 

 

The world of flora is enchanting and powerful, and when paired with poetry the effects are felt in the body and in the soul. For further reading, we recommend “The Lent Lily” by A. E. Housman, “Tall Nettles” by Edward Thomas, and “Tulips” by Sylvia Plath. And if you are interested in taking it one step further, check out this post on how to incorporate floral symbolism into your own writing.