Pink Peony in White

Pink Peony in White



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?

                                     Mary Oliver

                           (from New and Selected Poems)


11 responses

  1. One of my favourite flowers. Gorgeous!

    May 27, 2014 at 2:31 pm

  2. I like Peony far more than rose but after lotus. 🙂

    May 27, 2014 at 3:03 pm

  3. That’s a single flowered peony, and I’d guess that it had a bright yellow center. I used to work for a lady who this poem could have been written about.

    May 27, 2014 at 6:24 pm

  4. I like the softness here. Nice! 🙂

    May 28, 2014 at 12:27 am

  5. I love this tension caused by knowing the colour of the bloom, but not seeing it – you let our imaginations into the shot to roam around in that fragile, romantic light.

    May 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm

  6. Julie Raulli

    This poem is FANTASTIC!!!!!!!! Thanks.


    May 29, 2014 at 9:44 am

  7. Julie Raulli

    Oh, LOVE the photo, too!


    May 29, 2014 at 9:46 am

  8. Brookie

    What a beautiful way to greet Monday morning!! Always such a gift to find your offerings!

    June 2, 2014 at 6:39 am

  9. Pingback: Peony | Welcome to Pairodox Farm

  10. I got an email from WP saying you like my recent post. This one was listed under “Great posts worth seeing from Lemony,” so I clicked on it. I had never seen this poem of Mary Oliver’s, although many were shared online after her passing. It was very poignant to read it in that light. 💜

    April 25, 2019 at 10:37 am

    • Thanks for clicking the suggestion and checking out the post! I am so glad you enjoyed Mary Oliver’s poem. I reread it, after your comment, and also was glad to have the opportunity to enjoy it again. It is one of my favorite of her poems.

      April 26, 2019 at 10:05 am

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