Flowers and Secrets

Monday Morning Musings:

“To be a Flower, is profound
Responsibility —”
–Emily Dickinson, Bloom


Northwest wind whisks away
the heron-grey, spins thread from cast-off eggshells
the blue of hope, the color of tranquility
blankets the sky, reflected in rivers and sea,

Feathery Clouds Swept Away by the Wind

while frosted leaves formed in midnight chill
by feathered flap of snow goose flight
melt in the rising glow of honeyed light
pouring from above–


now mothers seek their daughters,
mourn their fathers and their sons
as bulbs like hidden secrets wake
to bloom in yellow, purple, and white, a robin sings


to make Ceres smile from a transitory space–
mutability is a constant, death follows life–
a brave woman curses soldiers with seeds,*
sunflowers will grow on your graves,

and blood-moon nourished,
mothers and daughters with wombs both planted and fallow
carry on, waiting for a sprout of yellow green
to waken in the sun.

Dalton Farm sunflowers (Summer 2021)

*”A Ukrainian woman offers seeds to Russian soldiers so ‘sunflowers grow when they die.'” Sunflowers are the symbol of Ukraine.

The weather has been so changeable—freezing cold winds, then warmer days. The crocuses are sprouting. It’s been difficult though to think of anything except the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I’ve been having lots of dreams about mothers and daughters, some anxious, some funny, some filled with love and tenderness.

We watched the new movie Parallel Mothers (rental from Amazon—it may be coming to Netflix at some point). It is director Pedro Almodóvar’s most recent film, starring Penelope Cruz, who frequently stars in his films. It’s about two single mothers, one near 40, the other much younger, who meet in a hospital while they’re both in labor. They bond and later meet again. Cruz’s character is seeking help from a forensic anthropologist to uncover the mass grave where her great-grandfather and other men in her town were killed by fascist soldiers early in Franco’s rule. As well as mothers (a frequent Almodóvar theme), It seems to me that one theme of the movie is secrets, and how too many are willing to ignore and sweep the ugliness and tragedies away. It seems very pertinent right now.

We also watched a horror show on Netflix, Archive 81, that we both liked very much. It’s about a film restorer who is hired to take care of some old films that a grad student made about residents in a NYC apartment building. He uncovers—hmmm—more secrets! It’s very well done, and it definitely kept our interest! Tonight, we’re going to catch up on Mrs. Maizel—a Monday Maizel. I made knishes!


34 thoughts on “Flowers and Secrets

  1. Beautiful poetry, Merril, that is gorgeously backed by your lovely photos! The weather has been all over the place though barely warm enough up here to make a huge difference…
    I’m rather glad that Mrs. Maisel has gotten back into the groove.

  2. Sunflowers signify hope for the Ukrainian people, who have shown nothing but true grit this past week. I love to see their sunny, floral faces here, the crocuses, and your luminous verse. Thank you, Merril.

    • Thank you very much, Marian.
      I hope your friend is safe.
      The Ukrainians are indeed brave and resolute. I’m happy, too, that President Zelensky has emerged as such a brave and dignified leader. It’s extra special that he is Jewish and fighting Putin.

  3. Lovely musings and photos this cold morning, Merril. Our temperatures have been all over the place the past week. The rabbits are darting around in the wee hours of the morning, so I know spring is coming!

  4. I just watched the video of the Ukranian woman her the Russian soldier. Good for her!
    The line in your poem that resonated most with me was “the blue of hope.” I felt an urge to go out and find that blue.

  5. Beautiful and timely words, dear Merril.
    I watched the video. OMG! Everything I see, the Ukrainians are so amazing brave. “You pieces of shit!”
    “Russian Warship go fuck yourselves”
    Russia has become a wart on the world. putin is a tumour.
    I have a lot of sunflower pics. Hopefully I won’t need to find them.
    I ramble, but I love this post!

  6. You have signs of spring! Still waiting here. But the sun is welcome. And the birds are out in force.

    I know what you mean about trying not to constantly think about Ukraine. Impossible. (K)

  7. Such lovely photos Merril – and the sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower. I saw Zelensky on TV today, he is a real mensch … I love that he is Jewish … beautiful words too –

  8. Pingback: The Responsibility of Flowers – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

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