May 25, 2013

Peony Time

It’s hard to describe how much I love peonies! peony1I love their beautiful pinks, ranging from the palest shell to the most shocking fuchsia (which I didn’t have any of). I love their hundreds of petals. I love the way the droop over from their weight. I love their subtle scent. I love the way some of the white ones are tipped in bright pink.I love the way some of the pink ones have yellow centers. The peonies around here got pounded by a big storm the other night and are looking a bit bedraggled. But I love them regardless.


This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
   to break my heart
     as the sun rises,
        as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open--
   pools of lace,
      white and pink--
       and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
    into the curls,
      craving the sweet sap,
        taking it away
to their dark, underground cities--
   and all day
      under the shifty wind,
       as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
   and tip their fragrance to the air,
     and rise,
       their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
    gladly and lightly,
      and there it is again--
        beauty the brave, the exemplary,
blazing open.
    Do you love this world?
      Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
       Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
   and softly,
      and exclaiming of their dearness,
       fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
    their eagerness
      to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
        nothing, forever?


from New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver

(c) Mary Oliver


  1. Happy Memorial Day Meg!! I love Peonies too. In fact, planted several bulbs(white and fuschia) last year and they bloomed about a month ago and have already gone:-(. I got around 20 blooms this year. I am already looking forward to next spring and so on as they will continue to multiply.

  2. My favorite flower used to be parrot tulips, but peonies have won me over in recent years.

  3. I'll be pinning these images for painting inspiration...lovely.

  4. I agree Meg - they are perfection. Gorgeous photos and thank heaven for Mary Oliver poems...

    xo Terri

  5. It's too early in the day for tears but that's just the reaction that beautiful poem has garnered.

    What a lovely way to start this Sunday.

    Thank you Meg.

    xo jane

  6. Beautiful photos. Hands down my favorite flower.

  7. Hi, wonderful poem + beautiful photos.


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