Archives for posts with tag: flowers

Forcing Roses
by Ranney Campbell

tent and keep clement
  cover, secure,

                  and wait

bathe in warm water

                                             give a sharp cut

  set aside
in a vase

upon your return, blow
          into the closed

  reflex and pull
          and pour
your heated water
   into her

                 let gravity
               spread petals

untouched by your hand

                                       then quickly upend her
let drain
to ready

run your fingers
      between the folds into crevices
and gently
tips tracing
     the ruffles
                           circling open

A version of this poem was originally published by The Main Street Rag. 

PAINTING: Roses by Vincent van Gogh (1890).

RanneyCampbell copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranney Campbell earned an MFA in fiction from the University of Missouri at St. Louis and lives in Southern California. Her poetry has been published by Misfit Magazine, Shark Reef and others, and is forthcoming in the Rat’s Ass Review and Haight Ashbury Literary Journal. Her chapbook, Pimp, is published by Arroyo Seco Press.

maksims grigorjevs
How to Revive a Distressed Peace Lily
by Anne Namatsi Lutomia

I was not at a loss when I saw you at Lowe’s
You were at the corner of plant section on the clearance rack
Your price reduced by more than half
You all labeled distressed plants
You all were neglected, unwanted and stressed

Peace lily, you were drooping and lifeless
Peace lily, you were green, yellow and brown
You were broken, withered, bent and listless
I pondered about the causes of your distress
I wondered what had happened to you

Then decided to buy three of you
Wanting to revive you – to give you life
Taking you from this death-row rack
I already had a big dark blue pot for you
I visualized how you were going to grow and thrive

Not the first time was I bringing home distressed plants
I am neither a novice nor first-time plant parent
I brought you home and got to work
I pruned the brown and yellow parts of you
I removed you from your pot where your maze-like roots thrived

I repotted you in the big blue pot
I layered the bottom with stones
Covered the stones with potting soil
Placed the root ball in the pot and added potting soil
You were thirsty, I watched you absorb all the water rapidly

I placed you away from the window to access low light
Watering you moderately once a week
One day later, your leaves were perking up
One week later, your new shiny green leaves were growing
One month later, your white flowers are blooming

I keep your plant care tag in your pot, Peace Lily Spathiphyllum
For light, bright indirect light
For water, keep soil moist
For fertilization, fertilize every two to four months
For temperature, never below fifty degrees Fahrenheit

PHOTO: Peace lily by Maksims Grigorjevs, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I enjoy growing indoor plants. A friend introduced me to distressed plants at Lowe’s some years ago, and now I like buying some of my plants from this rack. It is always inspiring to watch a plant that was almost dead come back to life. This poem was inspired by the increased interest in growing indoor plants by young people in the United States. I hope this poem can be a resource to new “plant parents.”


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anne Namatsi Lutomia is a budding poet and a member of a Champaign Urbana poetry group. She enjoys reading and writing poems. She has published poems with Silver Birch Press, BUWA and awaazmagazine. She also likes going for long walks, and now lives in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Father's Flower Girls
Father’s Flower Girls
by Jeannie E. Roberts

   “Bless you, my darling, and remember you are always in the heart ―
   oh tucked so close there is no chance of escape ― of your sister.”
   ~Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923)

Sisters stood steadfast,
beside one another, fused
in a foreground of phlox.

Blossoms imprinted, found
torn and faded, a memory
tucked close to her heart.

Flower girls, he called them,
from a photo once taken.
Now sisters stand distant,

apart. Like the wheel
of seasons, summer releases
its fullness to fall, bows

to the call, departs on its passage,
surrenders, detaches, decays
but recalls―all that’s lost, is found.

This seasonal motion, has essence,
devotion, no escape, exit or door―
flower girls, he called them,

from a photo once taken―
sisters together, blooming forever-

PHOTO: The author (right) and her sister, Mary, near Ellsworth, Wisconsin, circa 1967 or 1968 (image credit: Donald E. Roberts).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This photo was lost for many years, and after finding it I felt more grounded, at peace really. I recall the day my dad took this picture of my sister and me. I was like most kids, not thrilled to be photographed, but our dad insisted on it. He compared us to the phlox that were blooming near our driveway, naming us his “Flower Girls.” I also remember that my grandmother (Gram) displayed this photo on a table next to her favorite reading chair.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jeannie E. Roberts writes, draws and paints, and often photographs her natural surroundings. Her fifth book, The Wingspan of Things, a poetry chapbook, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. She is the author of Romp and Ceremony, a full-length poetry collection (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Beyond Bulrush, a full-length poetry collection (Lit Fest Press, 2015), Nature of it All, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press, 2013), and the author and illustrator of Let’s Make Faces!, a children’s book (2009). Her poems appear in online magazines, print journals, and anthologies. Born in Minneapolis, she divides her time between Minnesota and Wisconsin’s Chippewa Valley area. Learn more about her at

by Mary McCarthy

Last night I missed my favorite gold chain
The one with the crab charm
We bought first time at the beach
And I took the house apart
Room by room
Unable to believe
It was gone

Sorting through pots and seeds
In the cellar
I found my last year’s Amaryllis
There in the dark
Where I’d left it cut back down
To the bulb
And forgotten

It had put up a long
Pale white stem
And a huge half open
Silk-red flower
Without light
Without water

Resurrected from its own root
waiting for me
like a pledge
of unexpected hope

IMAGE: “Red Amaryllis,” painting by Georgia O’Keeffe (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem thinking about how we spend more time mourning losses than celebrating discoveries, both large and small.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. Her work has appeared in many online and print journals, including Earth’s Daughters, Gnarled Oak, Third Wednesday, and Three Elements Review. Her echapbook, Things I Was Told Not To Think About, is available through Praxis magazine online. She is grateful for the wonderful online communities of writers and poets sharing their work and passion for writing, providing a rich world of inspiration, appreciation, and delight.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The photo was taken during a break in our recent house-hunting expedition.

by Tamara Madison

Is this how it feels to be a daffodil after five days
in a white milk pitcher on a kitchen table?

Is this how it feels when you see your petals
curl up at the ends like a ragged hem?

Is this how it feels to have reached the summit of loveliness
and be raveling back down, sucked in and browning at the edges?

Is this how it feels to have your color turn to a mockery
of what it was just yesterday, when it beheld its own goldenness

in the mirror and said “I’m so happy to see you!”
but now even your face averts its gaze?

Is this how it feels to watch spring open all around you
and know you’ll never be there again?

IMAGE: “Daffodils in White Pitcher” by Kate Bartlett.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tamara Madison teaches English and French at a public high school in Los Angeles. Raised on a citrus farm in the California desert, Tamara’s life has taken her many places, including Europe and the former Soviet Union, where she spent fifteen months in the 1970s. A swimmer and dog lover, Tamara says, “All I ever wanted to do with my life was write, and I mostly write poetry because it suits my lifestyle. I like the way one can say so much in the economical space of a poem.”



by Veronica Hosking


IMAGE: “The Beauty of the Desert” by Saija Lehtonen. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I chose to write about monsoon season for my half year poem, because the rains come in July and bring life to the desert plants. I also enjoy writing concrete poems. This poem can be read two ways depending on whether you start from the left cactus branch or the right one.


 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Hosking is a wife, mother, and poet who lives in the desert southwest with her husband and two daughters. Her family and day job, cleaning the house, serve as inspiration for most of her poetry. “Spikier Spongier” appeared in issue two of Stone Crowns magazine in November 2013.  “Desperate Poet” was published on the Narrator Central website and reprinted in volume four of Poetry Nook in February 2014. Veronica keeps a poetry blog at

by Allen Ginsberg

I walked on the banks of the tincan banana dock and sat down under the huge shade of a Southern Pacific locomotive to look at the sunset over the box house hills and cry.
Jack Kerouac sat beside me on a busted rusty iron pole, companion, we thought the same thoughts of the soul, bleak and blue and sad-eyed, surrounded by the gnarled steel roots of trees of machinery.
The oily water on the river mirrored the red sky, sun sank on top of final Frisco peaks, no fish in that stream, no hermit in those mounts, just ourselves rheumy-eyed and hung-over like old bums on the riverbank, tired and wily.
Look at the Sunflower, he said, there was a dead gray shadow against the sky, big as a man, sitting dry on top of a pile of ancient sawdust—
—I rushed up enchanted—it was my first sunflower, memories of Blake—my visions—Harlem . . .

MORE: Read “Sunflower Sutra” by Alllen Ginsberg in its entirety at

SOURCE: “Sunflower Sutra” appears in Allen Ginsberg‘s Collected Poems, 1947-1980 (HarperCollins, 1984), available at

IMAGE: “Sunshine Railroad” by Emily Stauring. Prints available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation of the 1950s. He is best known for his epic poem “Howl” (1955).

by William Blake

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

IMAGE: “Sunflower” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1935).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. For the most part unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the greatest poets of all time in any language. As a visual artist, he has been lauded by one art critic as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced.” (Source: Wikipedia)

by Frank Steele

You’re expected to see
only the top, where sky
scrambles bloom, and not
the spindly leg, hairy, fending off
tall, green darkness beneath.
Like every flower, she has a little
theory, and what she thinks
is up. I imagine the long
climb out of the dark
beyond morning glories, day lilies, four o’clocks
up there to the dream she keeps
lifting, where it’s noon all day.

SOURCE: “Sunflowers” appears in Singing into That Fresh Light (Blue Sofa Press, 2001).

IMAGE: “The Sunflower” by Gustav Klimt (1907).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet Frank Steele lives with his wife, Peggy, in Bowling Green, Kentucky. He was a professor at Western Kentucky University, and his poems have been featured in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” and anthologized in The Poetry Home Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets (2007).

by Mary Oliver

Blue and dark blue
rose and deepest rose
white and pink they

are everywhere in the diligent
cornfield rising and swaying
in their reliable

finery in the little
fling of their bodies their
gear and tackle

all caught up in the cornstalks.
The reaper’s story is the story
of endless work of

work careful and heavy but the
reaper cannot
separate them out there they

are in the story of his life
bright random useless
year after year

taken with the serious tons
weeds without value humorous
beautiful weeds.

SOURCE: Poetry (October 1994)

IMAGE: Morning glories in a cornfield.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Oliver is a poet that New York Times described as “far and away, [America’s] best-selling poet.” Her first collection of poems, No Voyage, and Other Poems, was published in 1963. Since then, she has published numerous books, including A Thousand Mornings (2012); Swan: Poems and Prose Poems (2010); Red Bird (2008); Thirst (2006); Why I Wake Early (2004); Owls and Other Fantasies : Poems and Essays (2003); Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems (1999); West Wind (1997); White Pine (1994); New and Selected Poems (1992), which won the National Book award; House of Light (1990), which won the Christopher Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award; and American Primitive (1983), for which she won the Pulitzer Prize.