A Poem of Hope : “The Flower”

I am a fan of the arts, but I’m not an artist per se. I’ve seen the great museums of the world, viewed man’s greatest works, and can recite much of art history since ancient times. But I can’t draw more than a stick figure. My art is with the word, the pen, of making word pictures to give a glimpse into my feelings and my interpretation of the human  condition.

Georgia O'Keeffe, Flowers

The “arts” come in many forms and most of us have at least a modest gift in one or another. Many think of art as simply painters or sculptors. But there are many traditional arts like dance, theater, and music. And there are modern arts like cinema, photography, crafts, and even new age graphic design. My artistic medium is poetry. And poetry is a lost and under-appreciated art. One rarely hears of great modern poets like Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson. Our closest modern-day poets are songwriters such as Don Henley of the Eagles. But there is something in a poem well-written that strikes a chord and resonates across generations.

Think about Homer’s Iliad, the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, or the 1001 Arabian Nights that were collected by hundreds of  different authors over centuries. These were epic poems that were re-told by generations of storytellers from memory before they were ever put in writing.  Part of the art was in the telling  and acting out of the poem, as a participant in the drama.  The Psalms of the bible are poems and songs that express the feelings of love, pain, failure, and thankfulness. Isn’t it fascinating that we can read a poem from 3000 years ago and relate to their emotion and challenges as if they were written today? One can read such poems, or just a passage, many times over and get new meaning each time. And you might get entirely different meanings from the same poem than I or anyone else, just like when we each view a painting.  And each of us is right in our interpretation as the reader or viewer becomes part of the dynamic of the poem or painting.

I certainly don’t claim to be in the league of master poets. But  I am comfortable that I don’t need to be in their league to have similar deep feelings and attempt new ways to express them.  Poetry is like putting together a word puzzle, another metaphor for our life’s puzzle. We are all really poets in some form as we express ourselves in the way that we feel and live our lives.  A life well written is like an epic poem.  It happens by design, not by accident. Art imitates life.

Poetry, along with the other arts have been one of the main ways that humans have  attempted to communicate with their God. And whether or not we believe in God, most feel the need to rise above mere survival and glimpse beauty and goodness as expressed by participating in or appreciating the arts.  It is  our way to communicate the hope that lives  either big or small in each man or woman’s heart.

In this age of turmoil,  I know many of my generation that have taken mighty blows, who are struggling to survive, who are close to losing hope. This is a poem of life’s challenges and more importantly, life’s possibilities, even in the face of these struggles. And meaning is often found in these struggles. During this time of Thanksgiving, this is a poem of hope, against all odds. We are not alone, so long as we have hope.

THE FLOWER

A flower was born the other day

It spread its limbs, as if to say,

“I arrived, I am here – look at me!”

Showing its colors for the world to see.

 

The morning was fine, fresh dew to sip

A cool breeze blowing, drip by drip.

The warmth of the sun filling the flowers soul

Still undefined in its special role.

 

As the sun rose higher still

The flower did what a flower will.

It’s stretched and yawned, toward the orb

Craving its rays, to embrace and absorb.

 

But when the light turned a shade of red

And the wind blew hot on the flowers head,

It shrank away from the fiery blast

No longer a sun enthusiast.

 

It sought out shade, but to no avail.

The star burned louder as the petals grew pale.

No relief in sight from life’s cruel symphony

As morning’s glory became distant memory.

 

And just as all hope seemed lost

And the flowers strength had reached exhaust

The Gardener came to tend his flock

And found the flower in a state of shock.

 

He loved the flower, called it by name.

Gave it some water, quieted the flame.

And the breeze followed his every step

As he breathed life back where the flower had wept.

 

Then the flower lifted higher, not afraid of the sun.

Firmly rooted in love, back from oblivion.

With the healer’s touch opening a door

To dreams untapped like never before.

 

As day turned to dusk, the sun moved away.

The master departed, to return another day.

The flower was renewed, no blemish or blame

Its arms up in victory, as if to exclaim –

 

“I’ve survived, no thrived – by the comforters touch.

I’ve loved, and lost, I’ve abandoned my crutch.

I know not what tomorrow will bring.

A day of joy, or a day of reckoning.

 

“But I’ll lift my head, just the same

Leaving the way for the master to tame.

I’ll do my part, come rain or shine

I’ll grow with vigor while tapped to the vine.”

 

“And I’ll love again, just as today

One day at a time, and so I pray

For the Masters strength, surely not mine

For only his mercy portends love divine”.

 

“So I bloom where I’m planted, and then

I’ll be ready for storms without wondering when.

I live for the moment or maybe all time

That I may know love most sublime”.

 

“So tonight I sleep in my bed content

No longer afflicted or in torment.

And as I wait for the new day to dawn

My cup runneth over and darkness be gone”

 

And the flower lived to toil another day.

To laugh and love, to praise and play.

And the Gardener came whenever the sun grew hot

And the flower was called “Forget- me -not“.

Question: when you struggle with life’s burdens, do you count your blessings 1st? In what do you put your hope?

Quotes of the week: Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its color are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers. SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, The Naval Treaty

Flowers grow out of dark moments.   CORITA KENT, Moments of 1984

There is surely a future for you, and your hope will not be cutoff. Solomon, Proverbs 23:18

 

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