Saturday, April 10, 2010


Early this spring, when we went through an unnatural warm spell, I stopped and talked to a neighbour who was clearing her yard of winter's debris. We talked about the weather's effect on tender spring plants and how an expected long frost and snowstorm could damage the crocuses already in bloom and the lilies-of-the-valley sprouting in her back yard. We agreed that such changes could also affect human behavior. She then confided that she was worried about her thirteen year old daughter. The young lady claimed to be very much in love with a young man and the mother felt she was too immature to feel so deeply, that she would be emotionally hurt. I had no advice to offer but I did write a tanka about the crocuses a few days later.

After some thought and careful consideration, the tanka turned out like this:

so early this spring
crocuses struggle
to bloom
how can I warn you
of impending frost?

Then I realised that this was not only a poem about a natural phenomenon, a thoughtful observation and its emotional impact, but also a metaphor for the situation the neighbour lady and I had talked about.

Her daughter, like a crocus, was doing her best to bloom as she was meant to; her mother thought the time was not 'ripe,' that it was too soon. She could see the possible difficulties, the hard frost looming in the near future, and felt inadequate to give her a warning she would heed.

Life and poetry, young girls and crocuses: oh, how they mingle!

1 comment:

annaken said...

Hey Jefferson, I really like this one! It is amazing what can trigger a story or a poem and I like how you have woven in the mother's worry and frost.

When one is young, one only sees the moment and not into the future. I share the mother's concern for her daughter.