Monday, April 22, 2013


Irises by Vincent Van Gogh, via Mary Lee Hahn, in the public domain, Wikimedia Commons

I'm participating in Mary Lee Hahn's poetry challenge, Common Inspiration, Uncommon Creations. When I saw today's "prompt," I immediately thought of iris I planted in the front yard of the first house I ever owned. That was twenty years ago, but the iris are still there. Every summer I drive by and admire them.


I find them one day
in a brown paper bag
in the teacher's lounge
bumpy white bulbs
withered brown leaves
stringish  roots
covered in dry dirt.
A sign on the bag says
I am told not to take too many
they will take over my yard
I select ten.

I am not a gardener.
do not know that iris
like to be planted
in mid to late summer
in groups of two or three
four inches down
with nitrogen fertilizer
in half sun.
I throw them in the ground
and forget about them.

The next summer
my paltry efforts
are rewarded
with a rainbow of richness-
kingly purple,
a deep velvety night black,
tawny lion's mane gold
and palest lemon yellow.

All that loveliness
pulled from a brown paper bag
in the teacher's lounge.

(c) Carol Wilcox, 2013


Linda B said...

They do have their stories, & yours is a rich one, Carol. What a nice thing that you go by that house & 'visit' your iris. I left mine behind this time. Perhaps I'll go all out & buy some new ones this year? You made me also remember my grandmothers' gardens-a flower for everyone I suppose. Thanks! I missed Mary Lee's pic today!

Beverley Baird said...

I love these flowers. I haven't grown any - but love to admire them anywhere they grow.
Love your poem - as always. You bring us along with your memories.