The peonies bloom, white and pink.
And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl,
A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation,
For the flower is given to them as their home.
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,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly, and there it is again —
beauty, the brave, the exemplary, blazing open.
~Excerpt from Mary Oliver’s
peom about peonies
My mother and her sister, my Aunt Johnnie, had a knack with peonies. Theirs always bloomed year after year, even when they moved them around the yard even though the experts say they need to be put in the ground and left alone. I, on the other hand, have done exactly that and yet mine only seem to bloom when that have a mind too. And I was thrilled to see that this was the year for two of them to actually have a few blooms. But all the rains and storms we’ve had have taken a toll on their beautiful blooms, and so I was able to get only a few pictures as you can see in my collage above. The lighter one has the most heavenly fragrance, and it’s such a delight to go out in the morning or the late afternoon and be greeted by its sweet aroma. Sadly it suffered more from the rain and storms, and so I blurred the outer edges a bit to cover up some of its browning spots.
Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits. ~Song of Songs 4:16 ✝