PEONIES

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, 1920
watercolor, gouache and graphite on paper


The peony on the left speaks:
So what if my leaves are starting
to droop, and my stems have turned
the yellow of old newsprint? True,
Iím stuck in a vase, but Iím saved
from the vagaries of wind and weather.
Hailís sharp comments can no longer
cut, and sunís hot stare canít wilt
my blooms. No sudden storm
will drench my petticoats,
drag them in the dirt, and ants canít
have their way with me, caressing
where they will. Now
Iím in full array; my perfume
colors the air, trailing ribbons
and silk scarves. Iím an implosion
of ruffles, a can-can dancer
at the Folies BergŤre.
Tomorrow, my petals will litter
the table. But today, itís May,
and the cafťs are open. Letís sit
in the sun and drink kir royales.
You know you want to touch me.
I know I want to dance.
~Barbara Crooker
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