Category Archives: Temple of Flowers

Stargazer (Temple of Flowers)

Outer edges creamy, smooth, white, powdered
as the proverbial baby’s bottom,
then edge inward toward the indelicate
flush of happy pink. So many flowers
hold our memories in their names and hearts —
tales and tears, blessings and blood, gods and griefs.

Daisies are the souls of stillborn children;
lilies, the breastmilk of Hera betrayed.
Hyacinth and larkspur are dark with blood
of those whom gods loved and later wept for.
Iris is Mary’s Sword, and it is said
lily-of-the-valley sprang from her tears,

as well as ladies mantle, spiderwort,
sundew, lagrimas de rosario.
Roses are tears of Venus; asters are
the stardust wept down from the night sky by
the constellation Virgo; and lotus
is the bed of the infant Nefertem

when he cried the tears from which we were formed.
So what is it this flower remembers?
The shading of petals edges inward
toward the indelicate pink, then the throat
is speckled with dark red like sun freckles
or beautiful bloody scabs lacing skin.

The baby boy had been beaten with a
wooden spoon to give him reason to cry.
When his diapers were pulled away, they were
spotted with red flecks like the throat of this
lily, and elsewhere powdered soft and white
like the edges of these petals. Stamens

break forth crusted with ruby-gemmed crystals
of pollen. This flower remembers what
the grownup child has forgotten but still
acts out — that breaking bursting forth over
and over again. Oriental is
place, a style both shy and bold, this lily,

the name given to any star rising
just before the dawn and hiding before
the night. Dawn is budding, morning opens
the flower’s silent memory, and dusk
is the spent and faded bloom fallen down
beneath the leaves, thrown away like a rag.


Sometime in 2004-2005, I believe.

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Opening of Artichokes (Temple of Flowers)

Pic of the day - Opening of Artichokes

“Avert!” whisper the lavender ripples,
“Leave me be. There is a muteness

in my mouth, my mind; a tightness
in my many limbs. I have no interest
in you, nor you in me. Let me be.”

But eventually something loosens.

Is it a coming of age? A kind
of wisdom? Or is it nothing more

than that loose-limbed fatigue
which recognizes death, while not yet
here, is approaching, and somehow

there is a hunger that is part of it.

The End of Peonies (Temple of Flowers)

Pic of the day - The End of Peonies

The edges of color have leaked out
Except near the still vibrant heart

Full of little flames, creeping inward.
The once supple skin is now dry

But remembers the tight texture
From when it was silken, the touch

Of intimate ants in exploration.
Oh, that outside arch awaits

The coming rain, when moist once more,
It will cascade pink petals one last time.

White Alyssum (Temple of Flowers)

i. in the bleak midwinter

Midwinter calls a longing for midsummer, midsummer
and midwinter tangling in the mind, unified by white,
white pictures, white noise — whispering snow in the whistling air

or shifting wisps on the ground, white alyssum hiding in
dark corners, petals as small as snowflakes; the sharp clear scent
of burning cold as sweet in its own way as that of white

alyssum (aroma penetrates into open space
misleading hunters, a masquerade, camouflage, this scent
so far from the source that the small bloom beneath is not found).

ii. frosty wind made moan

We all turned our coat collars against the wind, and huddled
together in the corner of the yard nearest the street,
hands as deep in our pockets as they could go, stomping on

the hard crust of the snow. One of the littlest tugged at
my sleeve. “I’m cold. I want to go in. Can’t we go in yet?”
I shivered, but looked at the house warily. They all hushed.

I could hear the cries still coming from the house — guttural,
high, thin, notes with crisp attacks and long decays. “No, not yet.”
No complaints. They just shivered, turned their backs to where we lived.

iii. earth stood hard as iron

“I’m so lucky,” she said lightly, in the kitchen only
a few days later. Her hands were swollen almost double,
mottled white and purple like shadows or dark leaves among

pale blossoms. Somehow she managed to wash dishes just fine.
“This happened just at break. Now I have a few weeks to heal.
I could never play piano like this.” The implied sound of

“Mazurka in D” threaded through silence as if it was
far away, as if sound was a scent fading as someone
passed by before deeper memory stirred to words, or questions.

iv. water like a stone

Even in the chill rebuke of silence, scent lingers — sweet,
elusive, persistent. The mind tangles cold with sweetness;
water freezes with waves in place. As blossoms fade and curl

under, new blooms push through to the top of the stalk, each new
cluster crowns as the old crown lets go and falls to the ground,
a supply of scent that seems as infinite as shark’s teeth.

Scent insists there was a moment beyond longing, hunger;
a moment floating in still waters like sound with lapping
and shivering dispersed into surrounding water, air.

– PF Anderson, sometime in 2004-2005