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Location: Midwest, United States

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Flower In A Glass

Why do I torture myself so?

I have work to do, contractors to call, things to pack or throw away. I have walls to paint and poisons to bury. My drums plead desperately for a good thrashing. Music beckons. Trails await my footfalls. I have places to see and wines to sip. My hair-shirt lies draped…half woven. Pictures must be stripped from walls. And I have friends to visit, return calls to make. There are those letters that must be written, negotiations to be concluded. My lawyer wants to meet with me. And I have poems that I must read…and miles to go before I sleep.

But I am numb to all of it. My heart is fixed on a flower in a glass.

* * *

As flowers go, it wasn’t all that magnificent. Then again, it was.

It was a sunflower. Now, I’ve never been much of an orchid man, anyway. I think she knew that. Tulips and sunflowers captivate me just fine. This one was young, plucked from good soil in spring. The petals were a golden yellow, the leaves were tender, the stalk not yet firm. It spoke of the prairie, whispered of a strong and trusting heart.

The flower felt like a new beginning.

She had placed it in a small glass of water atop the nightstand in anticipation of my coming. She understood the importance of flowers. They are, after all, kindred spirits.

I fell in love with the flower at my side. This prairie son surrendered his heart to hers, the way the sunflower surrenders to the sun. Beauty lay on both sides of me. I wasn't dreaming...then.

Both were there in the morning.

* * *

Now, where did I put that glue pot? I have broken wings to patch together. I have devils to vanquish and angels to greet. The carillon bells have long stopped ringing (seems like fifteen centuries ago).

The silence warns me that I have to go.

Why, why, why do I torture myself so?

* * *

The Spoils of Love
By Robert Graves

When all is over and you march for home,
The spoils of war are easily disposed of;
Standards, weapons of combat, helmets, drums
May decorate a staircase or a study
While lesser gleanings of the battlefield –
Coins, watches, wedding rings, gold teeth, and such –
Are sold anonymously for solid cash.

The spoils of love present a different case
When all is over and you march for home;
That lock of hair, those letters, and the portrait
May not be publicly displayed; nor sold;
Nor burned; nor returned (the heart being obstinate) –
Yet never trust them to a strong room safe
For fear they burn a hole through two-foot steel.

* * *


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