In the event, there was little for them to say,
The flowers, so they stood still, swaying,
Not even murmuring amongst themselves.
Meanwhile my mother’s funeral rose up in me
Like a volcano.
They clung to the soil and the rock
For dear life, the flowers, while far below
Suspended like a miracle in infinite space
The sun, too, clung on for dear life—
So small, hot, and bright!
Each flower, surely, had its petaled meaning:
Bridal and Christmas Rose, Red and White Clover,
Meadow Saffron, varieties of Geranium and Thrift.
But on that day, as I recall, they said
Nothing to the point.
A poem could have stopped then and there
Like a cut flower, like a vase
For cut flowers, like a cut glass vase
Glittering—the human element—
In the hot, bright light.
But from the garden where we stood, I participated
In a greater miracle: the earth, all flowers
And volcanoes, was whipping the sun
Around and around in circles, around, around,
Like a child’s toy.