magnolia and barbed wire.

April 18, 2013

magnolia and barbed wire In the winter months it’s easy to forget that there are whole lives lived in the interiors of the city blocks, but when the spring comes and the trees bloom, I suddenly remember. The view around Brooklyn these days has been made positively fuzzy with blossoms. I’ll take the fuzzy over the stark any day.magnolia and barbed wire I read this poem this week. I think it’s just right for this time of year and for this week, especially:

“Under the Magnolia” by Carolyn Miller

I give thanks because I do not have
a great sorrow. My village has not
burned, my child has not died, my body
is not ravaged. I sit here on the ground
lucky, lucky. Somewhere, villages are burning,
somewhere, not too far away, children
are dying; in this great urban park
painstakingly constructed over sand dunes,
people live in the flowering bushes. But
just here, in front of me, is a bride and groom;
here is a child running with
a red ball; another child is rolling on
the grass. All I have to do is to decide
how much fear to let inside my heart
in this fragile, created place, this bowl of grass
surrounded by palms and cypresses and
shaggy-barked cedars and trees
whose names I do not know, long fronds
falling, clusters of lilac fruits depending like
bouquets. All we can do is trust
that we belong here with the flowers: white
iris and Iceland poppies, a blur
of primroses, beds where flowers are
a crowd of color, where they close in the dark,
where the first light finds them starred
with dew. The trees seem to know
what I do not know; even the cultivated grass
understands some chain of being I can only
guess at, whether it is God’s mind, or
the erotic body of the Goddess, or some
abstract kind of love, or
some longing for existence that includes
the fern trees, the new buds of cones on the
conifers, the white butterflies, the skating boys,
the hooked new buds of the magnolia
that look like claws holding on
to life, the curved thick petals of magnolia
in the grass, some gone to rust, some creased,
some streaked, others freckled, others magenta
at the curved stem end, others cracked,
all lined with long veins branching out
to the petal’s edge.

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  • Reply Le Dub April 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    That poem made my morning, thanks 🙂

  • Reply Rachel Lawson April 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    That poem is beautiful and so are the pictures! Perfect for what's been going.


  • Reply ginger from the style of being April 18, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    I have such a weakness for nature meets grunge. The blossoms / barbed wire combo is somehow incredibly beautiful to me. Love these pics.

  • Reply Charlotte F April 18, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Magnolias are so beautiful…

  • Reply BON+JOUR April 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    Oh, spring just brings back life even into a big city 🙂

  • Reply Abbie April 19, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this poem. It really spoke to me, this week especially.

  • Reply Briar April 21, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this poem, Erin. I've been reading it and re-reading it this week to really get to know it. It speaks to this moment in a rather uncanny way. I suppose that's exactly what a good poem can do.

  • Reply susan April 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    beautiful blooms, beautiful poem!

  • Reply Tanu April 23, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    beautiful poem !

  • Reply earlywonder April 26, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    thanks for sharing. i read it when you posted (and shared it) and still want to refer back for inspiration this week. it's one that will stay with me for a long time, and i'll need to hold tight for future meditations.

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