A Poem for Valentine’s Day

What if Valentine’s Day was a way to renew what you feel instead of declare it?

Daring

By Michelle Garren Flye

Fold up your petals

Don’t dare to emerge

On this not-even-just-spring-day

You’ll win no medals

In the pre-spring surge

Sp don’t dare rush along the way

But maybe the one who meddles

And pushes life to the verge

Daring to jump ahead of the fray

Will be the one who gentles

That which would otherwise scourge

Maybe Love’s daring will keep us safe.

Idiot daffodil. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Taking the Lead

I’ve been entering contests, so I haven’t had much to put up here recently since most contests won’t accept previously published poetry. I wrote this one this morning, though. because my daffodils are already starting to bloom, and I decided I should share it here instead of trying for fame.

Taking the Lead

By Michelle Garren Flye

There’s always one to emerge before winter’s done.

Poking bright petals out to the sun, as if no one will care.

It seems as if the cold air should bring on despair

But you must lead the way, the charge before spring

When there’s still too much bite for the robin’s wing.

Why come out now, oh, little yellow flower?

Why stick your neck out before the seasons change?

Don’t you know you have no real power

And your appearance now is nothing but strange?

The frost will still nip you back when you bud.

But maybe you’re here to bring hope to us all.

Maybe your courage will stir all our blood!

Why wait for the rest of the world to stand tall?

There must be one to lead the way

To hold up the standard and show that we care.

That first soldier marches so we have one to follow

Like the little yellow flower that doesn’t mind cold air

And risks a frosty death in a show of bravado.

Poem 22 (National Poetry Month): The Last Daffodil

Happy Earth Day!

The Last Daffodil

By Michelle Garren Flye

The day the last daffodil fell

Was truly a sad day indeed.

Leaves and heart turned to seed—

But I’m proud I knew him well.

Was he a politician with brittle skin?

A general whose advice was ignored?

A scientist with findings scorned?

A doctor whose patience wears thin?

No, he was just a simple flower

Whose beauty and life

And survival of strife

Was his only real power.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 9 (National Poetry Month): Inspiration Comes After the Storm

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

A walk after rain is often enlightening. A walk after rain in the spring never fails to bring to mind e.e. cummings. A walk after rain while thinking of e.e. cummings will either bring inspiration…or make you feel like a dullard. I’ve had it both ways, but I still like to try.

April 9, 2020

Inspiration After the Storm

By Michelle Garren Flye

Shhh.

This is my favorite part.

After the storm,

When the world comes back to life.

Listen.

The birds sing their

Survivor song.

I walk quiet

Through the mud-

Luscious world

Cummings warned me about.

Careful. Feel it?

Desire.

For the words

For the waiting photo

For inspiration—

But all I see is the mess after the storm.

Leaves and branches

Cast aside,

Petals litter

Wet pavement.

My dog stops to watch as a bird bathes in a puddle—

But I didn’t bring the right lens.

We walk on…Oh,

Where is my balloon man?

But wait.

Listen.

Shhh.

I hear him now.

Or maybe it’s a frog.

No, look.

That leaf is new.

That rose.

That puddle with petals

Of the dogwood tree

Drowned inside.

Oh yes.

This is my favorite part.

Inspiration always comes after the storm.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 8 (National Poetry Month): Spellbound

April 8, 2020

Spellbound

By Michelle Garren Flye

I stopped for the butterfly,

Spellbound by his splendor,

As if he were dressed in finery

At an event where I wore jeans.

Sunlight sparked jeweled wings,

Black and gold speckled shade.

Magnificence in the midst

Of common beauty.

He took no notice of me

Though I froze in place

To make way for his jaywalking.

He just fluttered by,

Leaving me foolish,

A heart-deep longing

He woke in me.

Out of focus, but maybe that’s best. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem 4 (National Poetry Month): Everything Grows (for the Bard)

An attempt at a sonnet, sort of a sonneninzio, inspired by Shakespeare’s Sonnet 15:

Everything Grows (for the Bard)

By Michelle Garren Flye

Everything grows, according to Shakespeare—

From the smallest microbe to the tallest tree.

Everything rushes to ends we all fear,

Hurrying along to the only way to be free.

What happens to us in the end, do you think?

What happens at last to the things that grow?

When life’s grasp loosens on eternity’s brink,

And we find ourselves caught in the universe’s flow.

What mysteries might we at last resolve?

Some say we fade, less important than we thought.

But maybe we find our way to finally evolve?

Into something better, something we’ve always sought.

Whatever happens, we can’t deny the bard was right.

Everything grows, everything rushes into the night.

Everything grows. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Happy National Poetry Month (a day late)

Yesterday was April 1, 2020, the first time I’ve ever wished someone would declare the whole year thus far as an April Fool’s joke.

It didn’t happen.

But while I was waiting for it to happen, I did get something done. A little something, anyway. I took a picture. You can see it to the left.

Yes, I published a book of poetry. A couple of those poems go back several years to the first year I wrote a poem a day for National Poetry Month. That’s when I first realized I liked writing poetry. And that I was pretty good at it.

I’ve come a little ways since then. I’m more confident about what I can do and why I do it. I’m pretty sure I’ll write poetry for the rest of my life. I guess that’s why I decided to go ahead and publish a small collection publicly. If you know there’s more coming, why not, right?

Speaking of which, there’s never been a better time for whiling away the time writing poetry than now. A bookstore, the most essential place of business in the best of times, isn’t, exactly, right now. So, in the interests of the public health, I’m staying home. And since it’s National Poetry Month, I’m writing a poem a day. Since I missed yesterday, you get two today. Let me know what you think!



April 1, 2020
 
April Fool’s, I cry, wishing it applied.
If only the past four years could dissipate
And life go on with no reason to hide.
But go back inside and shut the gate;
No use waiting for a change in the tide.
 
Store’s closed, theater’s shuttered, all gone.
No more help from those in charge
Than that you give yourself alone.
No superheroes will arrive and barge
In to help you, so change your tone.
 
Would life be better if other decisions were made?
Oh yes, but we can’t live for yesterday when
Worries about tomorrow still pervade.
Close your eyes and count one to ten.
Then go on with life, there are debts to be paid.




April 2, 2020
 
How long until we trust a hug again?
How long before we open up to life,
And throw our arms around each other?
I’d like to buy the world a coke—
But that’s tough from six feet away.
 
They say it will happen eventually.
Slowly, we’ll see this thing go away.
Can a hug happen carefully,
Or is it more of a spontaneous thing?
Can we learn to embrace that way?
 
I guess it will work out for us, though.
When this is over, we’ll be delicate.
It’s better to be careful when you’re hurt.
And oh, we will be tired and we will ache—
When we get there, don’t squeeze too hard.

Who says life finds a way? This flower.

What lesson can we learn from this little flower? Everything important. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

I took this picture this morning. Dogwoods are blooming in North Carolina. I’ve been photographing them ever since they started peeking out a week or so ago. But this particular bloom intrigued me. Why?

Because it’s blooming on a broken branch.

The branch was half severed during a storm in the late summer/early fall. It never died, though. The leaves stayed green until they reddened to brown in the fall. I’ve been watching this branch since then, waiting for spring and wondering if it would bloom like the rest of the tree.

It is. Blooming. A little stunted, a little slower, but blooming nonetheless. Partially severed from the rest of the tree, this little blossom is still struggling for survival. It has a message of beauty and purpose to spread to us. No doubt this flower would prefer to still be on a limb that is fully attached to the tree it comes from, but it’s taking what’s been given and going with it.

It occurred to me that this flower is much like us right now. Do we wish we weren’t stuck in isolation? Would we prefer to be able to go to dinner and movies and parties like normal? (Okay, the parties thing is not me, but I understand I’m less social than the normal human being.) It would definitely be nice to go out shopping without wondering if this is the time we pick up the COVID-19 virus and bring it home to our families.

Yeah, we’re all blooming on our own broken branches right now. But we’re blooming, nonetheless. We’re helping each other and spending time with family members that maybe had been a little neglected, tending to gardens and cleaning our homes. Our children are still learning from teachers who are overcoming what would once have been insurmountable obstacles to teaching.

Life is going on. To quote Jeff Goldblum (and either Michael Crichton or Steven Spielberg?), “Life finds a way.” We are alive. We are finding a way to live.

Poem: Acquittal (not what you’re thinking…or is it?)

Acquittal

By Michelle Garren Flye

No other flower matches the daffodil

For merrymaking in spring.

Enjoy its jocund spirit for it lasts

But a momentary fling.

The yellow blossoms nod and sway, but

The moment is gone too soon.

They acquit themselves in splendor

And are gone within a moon.

No time spent gazing at yellow buds

Should be considered wasted.

For the moment ends, and memory remains

Of the golden glory so ill-fated.

If only all acquittals left such a taste?

If only all fates were so well spent.

If only we took the time to be sure

We knew what each one meant.