Snapdragons transport me
back to Father’s gardens –
the pleasure of pinching
delicate floral lips

Forbidden, was I
tiny feet banished from
tiers of ordered colours –
how he worshipped those rows

Hours spent on knees,
as if in prayer… attention
lavished on nurturing growth
while I shrivelled on sidelines

Longed to dig beside him,
sully my hands and share
his passion, ignorant of
an inner drive to weed

Felt only walls of separation
the coldness of perfection,
so in my wilful way,
I rebelled against taboos

On tiptoe, stepped between
the bobbing arrangements
marred the well-tended soil
and pinched the snapdragons.

(Snapdragons first appeared here in March, 2018. Edited for this edition. Art my own)


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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

25 thoughts on “Snapdragons”

  1. Loving this! It’s real poetry, which we don’t always get in this day and age (and even I’m guilty of doing this). This is just perfect and unexpected movement from the start of the title. Awesome!

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  2. As children, my siblings and I were put to work in my mother’s vegetable and flower gardens. She was a free spirit when it came to gardening, pretty much letting growing things spread where they wished. And the vegetables and flowers loved her for it. We children learned a lot from her, chief, I think, how to grow our own food.

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  3. Yes this solemn poems brings back memories and poignantly expresses the heart of a gardener like my mother. Long after her death, the beautiful azaleas she planted testify to her love, care and nurturing.

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  4. This is a wonderful poem, VJ. But it does make me sad, for the little girl (?)(you?) who felt secondary to her father’s passions. I especially liked this line: ignorant of /
    an inner drive to weed

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    1. Thanks Julie. A child can’t see the weeds that plague a parent. I could never understand why my father remained emotionally distant. Of course, I do now.

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  5. Good morning VJ. I loved this. Snapdragons were my Paternal grandmother’s favourite flowers…..a place where I was allowed to be more free. However my Mother, an exceptional gardener, was like your father a perfectionist. Edges had to be perfect….and I was rarely ever allowed to help out in case I messed things up. Consequently my own gardens are wild and free…….and so good does come from all situations:). Enjoy your weekend.

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