one poem
per blossom is not enough
for a peony

Wanting to say something about the beauty of peonies, I look up peony lore, and I find that:

  • In Greek myth the peony is healing. The fallen apprentice of medicine, Paeon, turned into flower.
  • For the Chinese, the ants at work in the peony blossom model industry and prosperity.
  • For the Japanese protection.
  • The Victorians, oh lovers of flowers and chastity, the peony unveils itself like a virgin bride.

For me, the peony is a chance to witness the unfolding of time.

PeoniesEach day I watch the peony. The bright bulb full of possibility. The slow reveal. Petals taking shape and curling within the bud.

And then, as if it must be released, it suddenly blooms.

Somehow standing upright on its stem, and then slowly falling with the weight of so much flower.

Holding the rain and the sun. Pink fades to white. Petals on the ground.

For me, I remember summers eager to watch the life of the peony.

In Cape Breton I would venture out on my daily walks to the ocean cliffs, and feel joy at the sight of the bright peonies in our front garden. Wild roses, peonies, lupins, daisies and wild irises were companions to me in those brief and beautiful summers.

Now, I see peonies everywhere on my walks in downtown Hamilton. They burst forth in neighbours lawns, all with different stories. Different lives. Red ones hide in the church yard, white ones across the street.

And I am blessed with the pink peonies, I didn’t plant, to sit beside on my front porch.

Blessed to be reminded of the wonder in the world.

One poem per blossom is not enough…