Consider the Crocus

Just one blossom atop
a massed bouquet of naked stalks.
a lone woman lounging
in an Easter hat at the edge
of a crowd waiting for someone to notice.

And one petal already half-fallen
like her hand with a starlet cigarette,
alone in this garden on Maundy Thursday;
an early lily, tiny, moonwhite
a luminous acolyte of the equinox.

How does a southern crocus
know, without snow, when to bloom?
There's some secret to these days
stolen like the feasts of heathen saints
to fill the holes in the Roman calendar.

Somehow the flowers simply know:
at supper tonight I'll balance an egg
(do this in memory of He)
before tomorrow's full moon
tumbles it into a plastic basket.

n.b. revision 5


Crafty Green Poet said...

I like the comparison between flower and woman.

It's often daylength that prompts flowers to bloom, though sometimes it has to do with the temperature of the soil in autumn (eg snowdrops) or around spring. It can be quite complicated. Sorry, I've got myt scientist's hat on at the minute...

Mark said...

I'm sure its some combination of light and heat, more likely light down here where the temperature at Spring runs up and down like a roller coaster.

I made a change to the last lines of stanza two that I like much better, removing the prior:

"smoking a furtive cigarette in the memorial garden/wondering what might be for supper."

That was a bit of narative filler than came to me in place, doing just that ouside Ocshner Hospital waiting for my son to wake from some surgery for his broken ankle. I thought the link between second line and my own cigarette, between Holy Thursday and my own wondering what was for my (hopefully not last) supper apt, but less so know.

Comments by readers on things like this always welcome.

paisley said...

what a glorious tribute to an often overlooked piece of light in the other wise bleak end of winter... i have not lived in a region in which crocuses bloom thru the hard cold ground for quite some time... but i do in fact remember them a first sign of spring in my childhood....

writerwoman said...

I love this line
like her hand with a Hollywood cigarette

it evokes glamor and sensuality.

Thanks for taking part in our NPM project.

qualcosa di bello said...

this is wonderful! gorgeous head goes to this very same place at this time of year

Mark said...

Thanks PWB visitors. I still vacilate between Hollywood cigarette and starlet cigarette.

Anonymous said...

This is my first visit to your blogsite and it's started off on the right foot. I love crocus and your poem is georgously sensate. This poem purrs. If you don't mind my saying, I think I like starlet more than Hollywood cigarette. This is the kind of poem I won't soon forget..:)

Poetmeister...on the road to Parnassus

Just so you know, I can't expand your comment box to do a "Preview" of my comment and it's why I'm leaving you my link. I can't use the full function of your Comment section because I can't see anything past the letter "E" of the word "Comment". I think it's something you have to change in your "settings" area of your blog..:)

Mark Folse said...

Revision four was primarly rewrite the last two lines of the second stanza. No one except myself knew what I meant by an ominous equinox, so that is long gone. Better to focus, as the rest of stanza one and two do, on the flower.