One flower at a time, please,
however small the face.
Two flowers are one flower
too many, a distraction.
Three flowers in a vase begin
to be a little noisy.
Like cocktail conversation,
A crowd of flowers is a crowd
of flatterers (forgive me).
One flower at a time. I want
to hear what it is saying.
“Bouquet” ~ Robert Francis
As he did in his poem “Waxwings,” Robert Francis has portrayed a bit of the natural world with a simplicity, directness, and subtle humor I find deeply appealing.
A serendipitous discovery made during a recent browse through his work helps to explain that appeal. In a poem titled “Glass,” I found this line:
“Words should be looked through, should be windows…”
I smiled in recognition. In comments appended to an entry I posted in October, 2009, I wrote:
When I began blogging, I told one of my friends I hoped to achieve some degree of consonance between my life and my words. When she stopped laughing, she said, “But my dear – that’s the whole point of the internet. You don’t have to be who you are.”
I rejected her point of view then, and still do. As I like to put it, words can be bricks or words can be glass. We can use them to wall ourselves off from others, to hide our true nature, or we can choose them for their ability to let the light of our lives shine through.
If Francis hadn’t died in 1987, I’d be tempted to head straight to his home in Amherst, Massachusetts, with conversation on my mind. As it is, I at least have the pleasure of recognizing a kindred spirit, and enjoying a wealth of new poems.