Gaudy hordes

auricula print photoart
poem & photoart – ©2018 Laura Granby

auriculas are strikingly theatrical
pimped painted ladies flashing frills and jewelled palettes
from stagy shelters; long-stemmed singletons
hoisted above fleshy lobes
like the auricle of Alpine bears

I see them too as tears of heavy-hearted Huguenots
– had their only been an oracle there
before that portentous feast of Saint Bartholomew
the Protestant masses massacred
hordes hastening hither with their silk and silver crafts
and a handful of auricular seeds hoarded by-and-by

French settlers that grew new roots in English soil
thrived and blossomed – their prized pots of Primulas
displayed in showcase fashion for Florist Feasts
how often, I wonder, did these émigrés thank the Lord
they had not whored their faith for life on earth

Auriculas – Primula auricula (ursa) – also Ricklers, Bear’s ears, Painted ladies associated, in garder lore,  with the Huguenot diaspora:-
Auriculas of Spitalfields
England’s First Refugees 

Sarah’s Saturday Mix for the Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie is : Double Take – utilising two sets of homophones: auricle/oracle; hoard/horde/whored
And today I’m shelving this in the pantry at Poets United

31 Comments on “Gaudy hordes

  1. What a unique take on the words. I love what you did here and I had never heard of Auriculas before so appreciated learning something new 🙂 I especially like your first five lines and the description you painted. Thanks for joining in the Saturday Mix

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    • Some timely flowers too as Spring approaches but it all came together from your wonderful mix of homophones – thank you Sarah

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  2. You tossed me like a salad with this one; the flowers, the people. the female persona. Nice very nice Laura
    Thank you for dropping in at my Sunday Standard today

    much love…

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    • love that analogy Gillena – many thanks

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  3. Oh I always learn so much through your poetry….history I had not known or forgotten….flower lore which is such a passion of mine! Another great work of words!

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    • the flower lore is perhaps a little apocryphal – I too had some learning to do here. thank you Donna – do you ever grow these?

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  4. I always enjoy visiting your poems, Laura💖 there is so much to learn what with your exquisite imagery and heart stirring use of diction. “I see them too as tears of heavy-hearted Huguenots.” 💖😍

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    • I like the notice you took of diction – such an important part of poetry – thank you Sanaa

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  5. What an intriguing background to these flowers, that I have never given a second glance to. But I will now. I especially like the lines about the French settlers planting their lives in new soil………

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    • I think too that the theatre of auriculas in pots, rather than planted, has overtones of emigres ever ready to return to a homeland 😉

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  6. Love the take on flowers and their ties to emigrants… there is a trail of flowers that tell a story of a past that is beyond the beauty of the primula… Our garden is filled with common cowslip… and every spring it brings a smile on my face.

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    • some plants are natives but the ancestor plant of these hails from the Austrian Alps!

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    • thank you – am glad I did them justice

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  7. I’m so pleased to read the first poem I have ever seen about the humble primula, of which I am fond, Laura. I love that you think of them as ‘pimped painted ladies flashing frills and jewelled palettes’ and have included interesting historical details.

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    • Primulas come in all Spring guises & are so welcome – these are the actor types who have to have a covered stage for their entry!

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  8. great education for me…new plants and flowers that I had not heard of before… 🙂

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    • Glad I could show you something new – thanks for stopping by Robert

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  9. Ah, you have expanded my education with your poem. A depthful and thoughtful write.

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    • Oh I like depthful Mary – thank you

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  10. Adding this link to what I think makes a marvellous auricular theatre should I ever be tempted to grow these ‘painted ladies’

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  11. “how often, I wonder, did these émigrés thank the Lord
    they had not whored their faith for life on earth”

    And now you have me wondering! Love the hoard/whored/hoared, and all the ways it might be better to be flowers at times.

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    • thank you Suasan – they were delicious words to play with.
      it’s terrible to think of how many died in those religious divides there in France (and here too of course) but out of it came more flowering of our culture, including auriculas

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  12. Thank you for this interesting and education write Laura.
    I have perhaps the tiniest drop of French blood in me, my father’s ancestry being that of the Huguenots.
    Anna :o]

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    • how interesting Anna – such arts and crafts in your blood then too – maybe even an auricular grower!

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  13. My mother’s roots go back to Lay, which she thought might have been Huguenot.
    And Huguenots came to the Cape too.

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