Consider the Rosemallow

Consider the Rosemallow 16×20 UArt 400 oil stain underpainting. $315 framed, $272 unframed. Prints Available.

As I’ve mentioned before, I often search for poetry specific to my subject as an aid to coming up with a title.

This often results in quite delightful rabbit trails into the fine art of poetry. I found two delicious poems concerning the Rosemallow–also known as Hibiscus–and although I didn’t end up using any of the wording in my title, they were just too rich not to share.

Poem for my Neighbor’s Hibiscus

A poem for my neighbor’s hibiscus

A poem for my neighbor’s hibicus
Furled for the night,
see? They’re rolled up tight,
like tissue-paper cigars in the moonlight
in the morning they will spin open
I’ll be walking past
I’ll be sucked in, again
will spin with them, six-and-a-half again
ballerina fantasy
fairy dresses for princesses named
Hibiscus, Rosemallow, Swampmallow.
The white one, shining in a sunbeam?
Rose of Sharon, sweet savior of sinners—
This pink one, I’ll call her Roseasharn Joad
bearing what cannot be borne
blooming when heat swells
when dreams evaporate like raindrops
when petals unwind
magic tunnels in time
swallower of bees
and ladybugs
and me.

The Rose Mallow

Published on April 25, 2018April 30, 2018  by Susan L. Leary

Daybreak and even at the start —from itself,
it flees: a flowering hibiscus,

beet-pink and heady with self-announcement.
Look there.
Every blood-orange center born
 of a bowstring. The petals taut
and meticulous in their pulling
back . . . The whole of it desirous of the mouthfeel

of rain. The whole of what was wanting to be said:

disregarded. Might the leaves,
edged with
 teeth, teach relaxation, teach the way out
 of such imprecise attention?

How the emeraldness gathers and spreads —
crawls through atmosphere,

delivers afternoon and with it,
a flower akin to coral in a deep sea.
 Sun and water slackening in the fullness.

Though by evening, look again:
an underside
 the color of flesh. The powdery wings of a thousand

 asleep at the stalk. The flower shriveling so as
to feel for itself,

 conscious, in the last breath,
of something missed.
As if to say,
there is the muddied earth,

there is the dead

but what of my body
will I remember?

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