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The Ugly Duckling

An ugly crinkly critter
this rhizome struck in the soil.
New avid lovers of iris
look askance at its unlovely root.
All winter long it sits
short straw ribbons stiff in the breeze.
In spring green fans appear slowly,
never swiftly, to the eager eye.
Buds emerge, then unfurl,
on a graceful sturdy stem.
An elegant stately creature,
nature’s exquisite rooted swan.

An Iris Well-Named
Opening in light
Mystique more suits the night.

Placed in a vase of crystal
Beside a lace-dreped sill,
Its shadows curve and call
subtly along standard and fall.
From lilac to deep violet
ruffles of color seduce the intellect.
Scent of a single bloom
softly haunts a room.

Born of the light,
Mystique is a provocateur
of the night.

Musings Before the First Cup of Coffee

Mist lingers over the river today.
Louisiana irises lean across
the edge of the water,
Their deep violet falls somber blots of color
amid limestone and chill gray air.
Do they mourn the passage of a funeral cortege
down the river soon?
Or do they rise in stoic grief
for the passing of the river itself?

Fey visions created by the timeless blooms
Images gone with the brightening of dawn.

Samurai Warrior
An iris seems a beautiful thing,

yet not thing
an organic flaunt
against time, soil, rain,
wind, and temperature.
Its corm dusted in sulphur,
arthritic strings of roots
grip clay tenaciously
on gray days
against gray fences.
It awaits patiently,
sometimes years,
for its revenge
in such a poor place.
Green smooth blades
raise defiantly.
Buds unfurl slowly,
millimeters per day.
When one has almost
despaired, that the bud
will rot–
Blood red in the humid air
Samurai sways in
triumph through time.

Pandora’s Purple
Veiled in royal purple,
a beautiful girl,
named “All-Gifted” by Zeus
smelled sweet and beguiled
all with her charm and curiosity.

Meant as a gift for Epimetheus,
brother of Prometheus,
Pandora was not a gift
but a punishment
to the Titian brothers who
had given men fire.

A closed chest,
the other of Zeus’s gifts,
invited Pandora’s desire to learn;
its hidden contents
fulfilled the revenge of Zeus
to wound the Titans and mankind.

She opened the chest.
The world’s evils stung and flung out,
except for Hope.
Losing her godling status,
Pandora became a mortal,
Mankind’s first woman.

Reminding me of a myth
I loved as a child
and taught to children,
Prolific and sweet,
the lovely iris opens each Spring
releasing the scent of Hope.

I. Pallida vs  T. Rex

As children gaze
at dinosaur bones,
Why does no one tell
of the true ancient,
An elegant iris
in a nearby vase?

Dinosaurs had their
space of fame
We know this since
their bones remain.

What of irises, outlined
in hieroglyph
in an Egyptian tomb;
in a fresco at Knossos,
Later woven on Renaissance loom.

Fierce creatures, those reptiles
always to be admired,
But the beauty of the iris
is that it survives.


But Why Name An Iris Baboon Bottom?
The perception of an iris
is subjective.
Van Gogh painted writhing blooms
under a withering sun.
O’Keeffe enlarged sensuous shapes
in seductive shades.
I imagine memories and miracles.
Memories of old blue
and yellow flags grown
over a sewage line in dry West Texas.
Of a grandmother’s garden
filled with dew bedecked jewels in Dallas.
And a post Civil War family grave
guarded by a dormant plant
for over a hundred years.
Miracles of nature
in color and form.
What other flowers bloom
so obviously up and so obviously down?
With layers of iridescent cells
creating a fragile illusion
framed by sturdy fans
down to a root lasting for centuries.
A seasonal interplay of strength and beauty.


Nature’s Wordless Symmetry
One Spring
Years ago a stem of Mystique
seduced with its blue fragrance
across my bed.

Tonight in September
A stalk of Immortality
Flares angel wing white
Beside my pillows.

One bloom for spring, one for fall
One for seasonal life, one for death
Nature’s wordless symmetry outlives all.

Poems by Dana Lovvorn