Poem Tryouts: The Language of Flowers

17 Feb

9: 49 a.m. — Atlanta

listening to The Weather Channelpoppy_flower_198889

Hello, all. It looks like Atlanta will continue to escape winter (a real winter). It also looks like the rest of the storm states are calming down some. Yesterday when one of the forecasters was tracking Octavia for us, he followed it through to NY and then he hesitated and, I kid you not, practically whispered ‘and then end in Boston’. They have received, in the last twenty-four days, ninety-five inches of snow.flower_bouquet_white_leaf_nature Mind boggling. We need cherry blossom time.

We are going to spend some time amongst the flowers. Whether your surroundings are showing early signs of spring, or fall flowers are beginning to show up, or if you are caught mid-winter, flowerless, it’s hard to deny the effect of seeing a bed of colourful pansies, or a swath of lemon yellow jonquils, or a bouquet of crimson roses. In California, golden poppies will soon line the highways. In Texas we will have the bright red of Indian Paintbrush sweeping us along the roads.pansy_flower_violet

In Victorian times, when flowers were given, they came with a symbolic meaning. Men had to be careful. They couldn’t buy any old flower. God forbid you should hand a young woman a bouquet whose make-up spelled out the message: I am yours ’til the tides run dry, when what you wanted to say was Aren’t you a cute little thing.black_eyed_susan_yellow_daisy_wild_flower

For today’s poem, think a while on things you associate with flowers and access any flower memories you have. Jot notes in case you need to mix a couple of memories for detail.

You can describe the memory with the flower as the poem’s centrepiece. Or, the flower can be to the side but a strong sensory detail.

You can use the flower as a metaphor.

daisy_pollen_flowerYou can compose your own symbolic bouquet — more work, but this would be fun. You will need to give your readers a legend, or you can decide the context surrounding your flower choices are enough. I have given you a link, but it’s fun to explore and find charts with flower images alongside their meanings. I picked the most extensive, but it’s image-less.

Play with structure, whether you create with single blossoms, several different blooms, or beds of colour. Remember, flowers are all about sensory detail, every sense wrapped up in a single flower (sound? Hey, a study done way back when tells us flowers scream when picked — think on that one a while).

I look forward to reading your flowers. I will see you Thursday for links and things (already?!); Friday for the week’s roundup of prompts; and next Tuesday for our image prompt.

Happy writing, everyone.




Posted by on 17/02/2015 in exercises, poems, poetry


Tags: , , , ,

27 responses to “Poem Tryouts: The Language of Flowers

  1. julespaige

    17/02/2015 at 11:24 am

    • margo roby

      17/02/2015 at 11:28 am

      Actually, no, Jules. That’s a modern association because of the poppies at Flanders.
      General: eternal sleep, oblivion, imagination
      red: Pleasure
      white: Consolation, dreams
      yellow: Wealth, success

      • julespaige

        17/02/2015 at 11:43 am

        Ah – then – in general, eternal sleep
        The pleasure of service,
        The consolation of forever dreaming,
        The success of saving others.

        • margo roby

          17/02/2015 at 11:46 am

          That is lovely, Jules. I liked the chaplain haibun, but I think I like this quick little thought even more.

          • julespaige

            17/02/2015 at 11:49 am

            I think I’ll add it to the haibun.

  2. Misky

    17/02/2015 at 12:46 pm

    Oddly, we just returned from the garden centre where there are NO flowers stocked. None! Just fake ones, which reminded me of my mother. We had coffee and cake instead …

  3. barbcrary

    17/02/2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excited for this, when I can find the time for it. So many possibilities! Thanks, Margo.

  4. georgeplace2013

    17/02/2015 at 7:28 pm

    I had to mull this over all day. Lots of false starts but I’m happy with this. Thanks Margo.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2015 at 9:16 am

      Funny how some ideas do that to our brains. I’m glad you won through.

  5. b_y

    17/02/2015 at 10:53 pm


    18/02/2015 at 4:30 am

    I really love flowers – the jewels of real life. But my poem is much sadder:

    I will try and write a blooming poem later.

    • margo roby

      19/02/2015 at 9:27 am

      Lordy, you have me steeling myself, ViV. On my way.

  7. Hannah Gosselin

    18/02/2015 at 5:12 pm

    Oh…Margo, this challenge spoke to me, (from under piles and deep piles, of white), it whispered poem to me…thank you!! 🙂

    • margo roby

      19/02/2015 at 9:36 am

      Hannah, I watch the weather and wince every time they say Maine, which tends to be in the same breath as Boston.

      • Hannah Gosselin

        19/02/2015 at 12:26 pm

        Thank you for your compassionate wince…I think it’s been the most rugged winter in a while…mostly because it’s so compressed. Certainly welcoming spring with open arms! 🙂

  8. nwian

    20/02/2015 at 2:58 pm

    Mine ended up really long but I loved this prompt.

    • margo roby

      21/02/2015 at 9:36 am

      I’m so glad. I’m on my way over.


    21/02/2015 at 5:54 am

    I’ve managed another little flower poem:


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