Iris

Her majesty, Queen Iris, blooms at the peak of spring

Royally towering over her flower subjects

Ruling her garden kingdom with curt nods of her head.

She wears robes of royal purple and white lace

Offering both order and wisdom to all who see her

Reminding us that we each play a role in this world

Whether leaders or followers, tiny violets or towering irises

Each one magnificent in their own way.

Lilacs

When what we see invokes hopelessness

When what we hear leads us to grapple with fear

When what we taste and touch seems faded and surreal

We turn to our integral sense of smell.

A familiar scent awakens even implicit memories

Bringing forgotten scenes quickly to our awareness

Stirring up emotions from eras past

By simply walking into an invisible aromatic cloud.

The fragrance of lilacs causes us to pause for a moment

Halting our feet during evening promenades

To smell the sweet scent of these lacy purple blossoms

Growing in bunches of tiny flowers on robust bushes

Filling the atmosphere with delightful memories

Of springtimes past, all the way back to our youth

Like a dear friend reunited once again

Reminding us the value of a sense taken for granted.

Bleeding Heart

After the hyacinths and the tulips have begun to wilt

Tiny tree blossoms scattered like snow across the grass,

An elegant bush unassumingly draws attention

With wispy leaves and strings of magenta flowers

Shaped like intricate, seeping hearts.

Even in our most noble efforts to remain optimistic

There are days when our souls must fall apart,

Just like these resonant bleeding hearts,

Having suppressed and managed the aching

Until at long last it brims over the edge of our safeguarding,

Spilling out in a rush of grief and tears.

We are allowed to feel the weight of our losses,

To wince from the sting of unwanted change,

Letting our tears to wash over the unhealed spaces

To make room for new seeds of hope to be planted.

These exquisitely melancholy flowers teach us

That there is purpose for the brokenhearted,

Validation to the pain we stoically hide away

Reminding us that in a world of tulips and roses

There are bleeding hearts too, just as beautiful,

Like a familiar and empathetic embrace.

Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)

Defying all arbitrary garden limits,

These tiny but fierce purple blossoms leap over stones

Blooming unexpectedly in obscure fractures in concrete

Seamlessly springing up in violet explosions across neon grass

Filling empty, bleak spaces with vibrant color.

Grape hyacinths challenge us to question our narrow frameworks

Thinking outside of the box of mindless norms

Proving that human growth occurs in desolate places

From hairline cracks in our steely defenses

To monochrome spaces where our uniqueness stands out.

Oh to be fearlessly adventurous, like these jubilant flowers

Undaunted by old conditionings, rigid expectations

Stirring up the most peaceful revolution ever known:

To beautify mundane landscapes with uninhibited authenticity.

Tulips

There is something about tulips

An innocence; a soft blush of pastels

Effortlessly blooming in neat rows or symmetrical clusters

Big bobbleheads, held up miraculously

By slender but steely necks.

I am puzzled by the meaning of these youthful blooms:

Everlasting love seems too seasoned a theme

For flowers so purely joyful and childlike.

Tulips soften the rough edges of the modern world

Reminding us that life is about moments of awe

Delighting us with a vast array of colors, experiences

Each one meaningful and new.

Flowering Plum Tree

Even while the frost still clings to the ground

Your tiny pink blossoms emerge by the thousands

Covering branches with a cloak of rose-colored petals

Bobbing gleefully in the early spring breeze.

How I love your fortitude to bloom even as the snow falls

Reminding us that the most beautiful masterpieces

Emerge from the raw, frozen ground

Bravely coming to life against all odds

While the rest of the Earth remains dormant and cold.

Are we not products of resistance?

Refusing to stay stagnant when there is growth to embrace?

Forsythia

I needed to see your bright, optimistically yellow flowers

To counterbalance the ever-growing darkness in me;

I unwittingly attached myself to hope

Peering out at your long, graceful branches

Swaying merrily in the breeze

Competing with the brilliance of the sun.

Your presence symbolizes light after a long winter

New life after tiptoeing precariously close to death,

And I grasped onto that idea like oxygen

To veins determined to stop circulating.

How we need those blindingly yellow flashes of optimism

In the descending heaviness of life,

The example of resilient growth

When our own will to breathe fades out.

Hyacinths

How striking a contrast

That such hopeful bursts of purple rising up from frosted dirt

Could symbolize sorrow,

Yet it was my heavy heart that saw them first blooming

Weakened in spirit and physical strength

Wondering if I would see the rest of the garden come to life

When life seemed to be leaving me.

Maybe the hyacinths offered a sobering perspective

That our existence is as fleeting as an early spring bloom

A brilliant, colorful burst of meaningful moments

Both sorrowful and endearing, harrowing and delightful

And when the guarantee of summer no longer feels secure

We learn to savor what is, just as it is

The brilliance of purple hyacinths bringing into focus

The precious gift of being alive.

Perspective

I was asleep, and suffering awakened me.

I was unaware, and the harsh lens of reality

Placed into focus what I refused to see:

That life is a stairway of broken steps,

Leading upward, to growth and actualization

And in the fog of existential aches

I lost sight of myself, completely.

Now, falling backward to the basest step

Having lost my health, livelihood, way forward,

I have come to recognize the beauty of brokeness

Having for the first time in a very long time

Reverenced the gift of simply being alive

The greater purpose of caring for my young dependents

With hope that we are broken down to be built up again

With renewed determination and grateful hearts

For what lies ahead beyond the wreckage.

Looking Upward

Today I am frail but undaunted

Afraid but not faithless

Uncertain but ever hopeful

In the face of this great, overwhelming unknown.

In our suffering there is resilience

Gratitude for each tiny step of progress

Relief in the warmth of human spirit

Looking upward, always, for traces of light.

To live at all, is to face the terror of vast unknown

Willingly risking our hearts to human experience

Stoically bearing the storms as they downpour

Keeping our chins high, our faith strong.

If we are suffering, we are not alone in our struggle

Collectively experiencing the worry of the world

As these heavy days pass by, one-by-one

Turning our eyes toward a greater source

For hope, and healing, and better days.