The Dearness of Peonies

June 13, 2013

A few photos of peonies from this season’s show:

Pink peony

Pink peony

White peonies from Kitty's garden

White peonies from Kitty’s garden

Peonies by the bucketful, Wallingford Farmers Market

Peonies by the bucketful, Wallingford Farmers Market

Pink peony with weathered fence

Pink peony with weathered fence

Tree peony, petals gone

Tree peony, petals gone

Peonies
by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open–
pools of lace,
white and pink–
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities–
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again–
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

Watercolor and ink sketch of peony

Watercolor and ink sketch of peony

 

One Response to “The Dearness of Peonies”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    And peonies were the flowers of choice at many graves – sometimes bushes, and sometimes huge, overflowing masses of them in urns. The white ones are special.


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