Fuchsia, or Tears of God

September 12, 2012

Fuchsias at the Washington Park Arboretum

I like the images describing fuchsia in this poem, which I read in “The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.”  The dangling blooms have always reminded me of Oriental lanterns, but I had never heard them called “tears of God” until this poem.

by Katrina Vandenberg

That summer in the west I walked sunrise
to dusk, narrow twisted highways without shoulders,
low stone walls on both sides. Hedgerows
of fuchsia hemmed me in, the tropical plant
now wild, centuries after nobles imported it
for their gardens. I was unafraid,
did not cross to the outsides of curves, did not
look behind me for what might be coming.
For weeks in counties Kerry and Cork, I walked
through the red blooms the Irish call
the Tears of God, blazing from the brush
like lanterns. Who would have thought
a warm current touching the shore
of that stone-cold country could make
lemon trees, bananas, and palms not just take,
but thrive? Wild as the jungles they came from,
where boas flexed around their trunks —
like my other brushes with miracles,
the men who love you back, how they come
to you, gorgeous and invasive, improbable,
hemming you in. And you walk that road
blazing, some days not even afraid to die.

Painting from a photo

Watercolor sketch of fuchsia



8 Responses to “Fuchsia, or Tears of God”

  1. littlefashionistas Says:

    You are a very good artist!

  2. Chris Says:

    That looks like the Fuchsia, Lena! Lovely sketch of her!

  3. shoreacres Says:

    Beautiful flowers, beautiful art – both verse and painting. The name reminded me of Steve Schwartzman’s photos of “widows tears” – you can see the middle of a three part series on dayflowers here.

  4. garden.poet Says:

    I love your choice in this poem. It’s so evocative.

  5. Lovely art work and a beautiful poem too. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Heather Says:

    Can one purchase a print of the fushia watercolor?

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