Poppies aplenty! A gardener can never grow too many poppies in my estimation. Biased? Yes, unabashedly biased when it comes to Papavers, I’m afraid. (The oriental poppies that we plant at Rosslyn are in the genus Papaver in the subfamily Papaveroideae of the family Papaveraceae. No worries, you won’t be quizzed later.)
So smitten am I with this almost impossibly perfect pairing of sensuous and carefree, delicate and robust, that I’ve gathered a passel of poppy poems as a rainy day elixir. Feel free to avail yourself of this sure cure if you’re stuck in the doldrums and need a boost. I can’t guarantee that the poems pack the euphoric punch of actual poppies, but they just might remind your heart and soul how to conjure these beguiling beauties out of your own memory.
Bloom Where You’re Planted
The advice, “bloom where you are planted,” apparently owes it’s pithy endurance to the Bishop of Geneva, Saint Francis de Sales (1567-1622), but my first point of reference was different. It was 1999, and I had just relocated from Santa Fe, New Mexico to Paris, France. I received a book in my workplace welcome packet that had been compiled by the FACCP Franco-American Community Center of Paris. The title was Bloom Where You’re Planted: Tips for Living and Thriving in Paris.
Although I grew up admiring poppies that my mother grew in the Adirondack’s Champlain Valley, there’s no doubt that visits to Normandy where poppies still dot green fields, and teaching John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields” to my students at the American School of Paris deepened my connection to Papavers. Somehow the helpful manual provided to me in my late twenties became connected with the poppies in my memory and in my gardens.
This morning’s poppies and the lovely reminder from Saint Francis de Sales and the good folks at the FACCP Franco-American Community Center of Paris coalesced for a fleeting moment, and the first semblance of a new poppy poem unfurled its still wrinkled petals. Not sure where it’s headed, if anywhere, but here’s where it stands today.
Bloom where you’re planted,
where the wind blows you,
where you are needed.
Bloom when conditions are perfect
and when they are not. Bloom.
Might need to let it rest a bit, and possibly, hopefully resurface anon. After all, I surround myself with poppies aplenty, so perhaps this poetry seed will germinate some day in the future, a reminder that preservation by neglect applies not just to orphaned buildings and blog posts, but also poems.