“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.” ~ Iris Murdoch
The Bradford pears and Tulip trees are in full bloom, and I am reminded of the year I made mother’s day cards from photos I had taken of the trees in bloom—I was very pleased with how they had turned out, but my mother looked at hers and said, “What’s this?” Lex later told me that Mom had complained that I was too cheap to buy a card; Lex tried to explain to her that I had shot the photograph, worked with it on Photoshop, and had the print made. I had thought the gesture special. Oh well.
Anyway, I have to admit that when I was clearing out the thousands of cards in my mother’s drawers, I came across almost every card I had given her in the past decade and sometimes beyond, and the flimsy free homemade card I had made her was there.
Here. Have some flowers of spring:
“Black Will-o-the-Wisp” (date unknown, ink and wash) by Takato Yamamoto
“Flowers by the Sea” (1965, oil on composition board) by Fairfield Porter
“Yellow Irises” (1901, oil on canvas) by Pablo Picasso
“Pink Roses” (1890, oil on canvas) by Vincent van Gogh
“Hyacinth” (1941, oil on board) by Chen Baoyi
“Meadow” (1913, oil on canvas) by Mikko Oinonen
“Spring Breeze” (1946, oil on canvas) by Otto Torsten Andersson
“Apple Tree Blooming” aka “The Eternal Spring” (1908) by Maurice Denis
“Two Austrian Copper Roses III” (1957, oil on canvas laid down on board) by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Flower Garden, Pansies” (1908, oil on canvas) by Emil Nolde
“The Poppy FIelds” (c1963) by Anne Redpath
“Poppies and Grasses” (1914, oil on canvas) by Pierre Bonnard
“Pink and Yellow Tree” (nd, oil on canvas) by Albert Henry Krehbiel
“Wannsee Garden” (1923, oil on canvas) by Max Liebermann
“Sunflowers” (1958-59, oil on board) by Peter Coker
“L’amandier en fleurs” (1947) by Pierre Bonnard
“Still Life with Pansies and Gladiolas” (nd, oil on canvas) by Arthur B. Carles
“Petunias” (1925, oil on hardboard panel) by Georgia O’Keeffe
“Flowers on a Chair” (1958, oil on canvas) by Adrian Ryan
“Orchard with Blossoming Trees” (1888, oil on canvas) by Vincent van Gogh
“Marsh Marigolds” (1906) by Wladyslaw Slewinski
“Poppy Field” by Michael Creese (nd)
“Glass with Wild Flowers” (1890, oil on canvas) by Vincent van Gogh
“Paris Bouquet of Wild Flowers” (1923) by Pierre Bonnard
“Bloomy Apple Garden” (1936) by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky
“The Orchard” (nd, oil on canvas) by Robert William Vonnoh
“Les Roses” (1925-26, oil on canvas) by Claude Monet
“Poppies and Violet Asters” (nd, watercolor) by Emil Nolde
“Les Dahlias” (1921, oil on canvas) by Tsuguhara Foujita
“Magnolien” (1945, oil on canvas) by Cuno Amiet
Music by Mussorgsky, “Pictures at an Exhibition” (Promenade), performed by The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
I came across the first poem whilst looking for poems about autumn. The second poem is one that I taught in my literature classes as an example of the importance of line breaks and decisions poets make when composing.
As I drive into town
the driver in front of me
runs a stop sign.
A pedestrian pulls down his cap.
A man comes out of his house
to sweep the steps.
bright as raspberries.
I turn on the radio.
Somebody tells me
the day is sunny and warm.
A woman laughs
and my daughter steps out of the radio.
Grief spreads in my throat like strep.
I had forgotten, I was happy, I maybe
was humming “You Are My Lucky Star,”
a song I may have invented.
Sometimes a red geranium, a dog,
will carry me away.
But not for long.
Some memory or another of her
catches up with me and stands
like an old nun behind a desk,
ruler in hand.
~ Jo McDougall
My friend says I was not a good son
I say yes I understand
he says I did not go
to see my parents very often you know
and I say yes I know
even when I was living in the same city he says
maybe I would go there once
a month or maybe even less
I say oh yes
he says the last time I went to see my father
I say the last time I saw my father
he says the last time I saw my father
he was asking me about my life
how I was making out and he
went into the next room
to get something to give me
oh I say
feeling again the cold
of my father’s hand the last time
he says and my father turned
in the doorway and saw me
look at my wristwatch and he
said you know I would like you to stay
and talk with me
oh yes I say
but if you are busy he said
I don’t want you to feel that you
just because I’m here
I say nothing
he says my father
you have important work you are doing
or maybe you should be seeing
somebody I don’t want to keep you
I look out the window
my friend is older than I am
he says and I told my father it was so
and I got up and left him then
though there was nowhere I had to go
and nothing I had to do