Monday, November 07, 2011

Poem for Monday and Longwood Gardens

By Eve Alexandra

They are everywhere--those sunflowers with the coal heart center. They riot
without speaking, huge, wet mouths caught at half-gasp, half-kiss.
Flowers she promises I’ll grow into, sweet gardener,
long luminous braids I’d climb like ladders, freckles scattered
across our shoulders in a spell of pollen. She’s sleeping there--on that table
with its veneer slick as a glass coffin. She’s fed us fiddleheads, the tine fists
of Brussels sprouts, cupcakes, even the broken song of the deer’s neck. Singing.
Flowers everywhere. In my bedroom chaste daisies and the vigilance
of chrysanthemums. Dirt under my nails, pressing my cheek to the shag rug
with its million fingers. You could lose anything: a tooth, Barbie’s shoe,
this prayer. She loves me. She loves me not. I stare at my reflection,
a posy of wishes. Morning glory, nightshade, tulip, rhododendron.
In this poem I would be the Wicked Witch and she Snow White. Waiting.
My father talks to me about their lovemaking. My mouth empty
as a lily. I try to remember the diagram. Which is the pistil?
Which is the stamen?
Roads of desire circle our house: Lost Nation Severance,
Poor Farm
. Branches catch the wings of my nightgown.
There is a crow and the smell of blackberries.


I went looking for a poem about chrysanthemums and though this one only barely mentions them, it makes me think of Once Upon a Time and wicked stepmothers. I was thinking about chrysanthemums because Paul, Dementordelta, and I spent the day in the Brandywine Valley while my kids spent most of the day with my parents (Adam went with my mother to work at Hebrew school in the morning, then came home in the afternoon to do homework; Daniel slept in and finished his laundry in the morning, then had lunch and hung out with my parents till they drove him back to College Park).

It was an utterly gorgeous day, so sunny that a lot of my photos are too bright to be usable given that I forgot my filters. We went to the Brandywine River Museum in the morning while it was still free for Pirate Adventure Day, but the parking lot was overflowing and they were turning people away. So we went to Longwood, saw the chrysanthemum display in the conservatory, walked around the autumn woods and treehouses, had lunch in the restaurant there. Then we went back to the Brandywine River Museum, where the pirate activities were over but the exhibits on Howard Pyle and on N.C. Wyeth's Treasure Island illustrations -- both of which include many pirates -- were still open.

Here are myself and Delta beneath arches of chrysanthemums...

...and here are myself and Paul by the conservatory fountains.

There were many varieties of chrysanthemum all around the center of the greenhouse complex.

Parasols on the ceiling reflected both the chrysanthemum colors...

...and the aesthetic of the ikebana display also in the conservatory.

Here are Paul and myself under the pagoda...

...which, as I said the first time I saw it, clearly inspired Thomas Kinkade.

The Garden Railway is open again for the fall season.

We had a pretty ride home seeing the newly early sunset until we hit Beltway traffic, which put an unnecessary half an hour on our trip. Then we went to California Tortilla for dinner, sent Delta on her way, watched Once Upon a Time which I'm still finding uneven but liking better than Grimm, and we're now watching the thrilling end of the Ravens-Steelers game -- fortunately we didn't see a single moment of the Redskins game, though if the Bears beat the Eagles tomorrow night, that will be good enough for me. Apparently our neighbors broke our porch lamp while trimming a tree; will worry about that in daylight when we can see what's wrong with it.

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