the autumn hawkbit

midweek poem - see what a flower
Scorzoneroides/Leontodon autumnalis

because I was photographing trees
you gave me a wild flower

because we shared that graveyard moment
you brought me this
yellow as the ripened summer
weedy as dandelions
folklore food for hawk eyes

because of how the flower sucked up the sun
it showed  the grim detachment of your proffered hand
kindling conversation by a tombstone den
amongst the oldest of London’s Christians*

because I am well-seasoned now
jaundiced thoughts were squashed like lice
against the backdrop of the old brick workhouse**
and still the poor and derelict are with us

because such moments are rare
and even common flowers fade
I captured your gesture forever

* One of the earliest Christian churches in  England – St Pancras Old Church

** A public institution in which the destitute of the church parish received board and lodging in return for work – see St Pancras workhouse 

A true tale in simple verse written for the Midweek Motif: “A flower was offered to me….”
and I guess a flower suitable for the imaginary garden

35 Comments on “the autumn hawkbit

  1. Yes to be gifted with flowers is indeed rare – so much imagery and depth in this poem..i could almost visualise the graveyard moment..the poet walking today..feeling the stories and people who came before..i think many people are still stuck in workhouses – our heads..our houses..our thoughts..it takes an open mind to spot that one shining leaf…as perfectly demonstrated here

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    • you have picked up the poetic ambience too – Shelley courted Mary Godwin here as she visited her mother’s grave (Wollstonecraft’s body moved later to St. Peter’s Churchyard, Bournemouth, England in 1851)

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  2. A beautiful poem. Is it possible to start it with the prompt words, without spoiling what you have?

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  3. I love the choice of words… there is a sadness in the graveyard moment, but when set against the flower it becomes something so much more complex.

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    • so true – the sunny yellow and the surprise gesture rose above the context

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  4. This is a beautifully devised poem. I love the way you have linked ideas together with the recurring lines and have woven the past into the descriptions.

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    • many thanks Kerry – the recurring lines came to me from the outset and gave anchor to this floral reminiscence

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  5. luv the colour of yellow, that christian symbolic hope ray, and the yearning/nostalgia of the graveside moment

    have a blessed Wednesday

    much love…

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    • no wonder you spotted the Christian thread – thank you Gillena

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  6. I love the introductory lines……….so evocative. I love “yellow as the ripened summer / weedy as dandelions / folklore food for hawk eyes” Very lovely writing, Laura.

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    • and lovely comment – thank you Sherry

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  7. This is stunningly beautiful. I too love wandering around London particularly the east end where there is a plethora of Wren’s churches squeezed in tight by the modern city.

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    • oh yes indeed – often am in the city amongst the guild halls and wren churches but rarely further east than Shoreditch. Old St Pancras is a frequent haunt and hence the encounter

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  8. How true that instant of hand offering flower–what the had reveals about the flower, what the flower reveals about the hand–the kindness despite-within-redeeming history. Wow.

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    • the poet had a momentary pause as to motive etc and still stunned by the simple act of giving

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  9. Beautiful writing. I love your weave of the bright sunny flower with the tomb and the offering. It is a simple yet profound tale.

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    • a juxtapose of life’s poetry in fact – thank you Myrna

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    • thank you Cayn – that one just flowed without much effort

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    • that simile set the time and mood – appreciate you visit Margaret

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  10. a beautiful and richly textured poem with wonderful imagery…a sunny flower in tombstone moment make the poem so layered….

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    • your prompt was just perfect Sumana – wondered if you think like Rosemary & Mary that I should have included the actual lines as above – I’m still thinking about it

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    • packing a lot into a small space – thank you

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  11. I like your poem a lot, Laura, and I don’t mind you didn’t start the poem with the given line, as the meaning was there lines… Wonderful write.

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    • thank you – the jury is still out on that one – can’t quite decide

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