Mournful in lilac

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics? ~ Pablo Neruda

I've neither imagination nor Mediterranean mind
for such a question - only the Norse notion
that pastel and bold never mix
that Syringa Springs are all the more sweet
paving the way where papaver blazes with desire
and a kind of fire stolen from Olympus 

Because men have battled for grounds
dripping humors into the very earth they stood for
poppy has taken metaphysical shape
black as bile to the core
scarlet and sanguine in a mass for the dead
requiems to paper thin mortality 

Seeing these metaphors transplanted to context
yours is no discarnate poetry fleeting as a fad
nor baroque conceit heavily laden in odes
where death itself is undone as a poppy dream 
- you heard dust settling with an unsettling peace
and people craving melodies that match the picturesque
but the poet mournful in lilac refuses such communing

© Laura Granby 2016

An answer to opening lines of Neruda’s “I’m explaining a few things” and uniting with others at Poetry Pantry

18 thoughts on “Mournful in lilac

  1. specially red poppies will perhaps always stand for this organized spilled blood..closing lines, particularly poppy dream seems so heavy with sighs…beautifully the richness of the language here…

    1. sighs! thank you Sumana – so much to contemplate in Neruda’s poem – set me off down the metaphysical line!

    1. enjoyed your KL images 🙂 late joining PP today so will catch up with you and other poets tomorrow –

  2. One of the finest poems I’ve read today. Great use of words in a measured pace to expand upon your theme.

    1. ‘measured pace’ – I like that Kerry – thank you – it was like feeling my way with this poem

  3. “Requiem to paper thin mortality”…what a fabulous line. So we’ll executed. I like Kerry’s comment about its measured pace. Very apt. Well Done!

    1. many thanks Sherry – so many symbolic attributes to poppy

  4. The Neruda poem is certainly stunning and confronting! Brave of you to respond, and bring in Eliot as well! Sounds as though you were impelled to and could not resist!

    1. Not brave Rosemary as loved the opening question lines – brought in Donne too since metaphysics got a mention by Neruda

  5. Wonderful.. what a beginning and such beautiful favourite is “requiems to paper thin mortality”…

    1. and so paper thin is the line between life and death though the poem is not morbid merely a trying to understand Neruda’s mourning poem

    1. ups my game when walking in the footsteps of great poets – thank you

  6. the metaphysical poppy the symbol it has taken or been given by man…so sweet its beautiful, so sad its inheritance….bkm

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