The Dahlia

I planted a violet dahlia by the boulder on the south lawn,

And gave it a drink – the poor creature was powerful thirsty.

As it drank the water it also drank in a secret or two that I let slip

And it nodded in the breeze, as if to say

“Ah, yes. I wondered when you’d tell me.”

Like an old man hearing his embarrassed son tell him about the girl he likes.


The dahlia will be violet someday, but now she is just a green stem

In soaked soil (the best kind) and her love has yet to shine forth.

But summer is coming, and this flower blooms all summer long.

Perhaps when I tell her enough of my secrets,

Perhaps when she trusts me,

She will tell me a secret or two of her own, and I will understand her language.


That language of the roots and blossoms is one I do not know,

Yet know in my heart is real. It is the language of useless things,

Of ordinary things. The more I understand it, the less I shall care,

I think. But still I want to know. I want to drink,

Like the violet dahlia not yet grown.

I want to hear it, and hear it as everyday speech, next to my dahlia in the soaked soil.

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