Reflections/poem biography for All the Flowers

In the pink

“As we lick the last meringue sweetness
from our spoons, metal shines

brighter than white bones picked clean.”

The main setting for ‘All the Flowers’ is my parents’ tithe barn in the Forest of Dean countryside near Monmouth. With the help of builders and craftsmen, my father converted the disused family barn into a beautiful home. It took years of work, as did the sculpted gardens. Keeping these in this gorgeous state is not a job I envy, though I’m more than happy to enjoy walking in them and admiring the views! The sequence was sparked by admiring all their flowers and then thinking of the potential symbolic significance of flowers at various stages in my life.

My Nanna died when I was a young teenager. Neither she nor my maternal Grandad were alive to see me marry. Taking my bridal bouquet to lay on her tombstone felt very important. The sudden declaration by my father – one day, out of nowhere, during Sunday lunch – that he simply wanted to be buried on the farmland, partly explains why that I’ve only been back once to my Nanna’s grave. Death is a part of life, particularly in a farming family. It is inevitable and other life does go on.

In the back of my mind too, the lyrics to Pete Seeger’s post-war (1955) song that asks, “Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?” Fearing death and loss too much can paralyse. But feeling that fear just enough also helps to remind me of how precious life and time are.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

How does the title ‘All the Flowers’ pull the various temporally disparate parts of this sequence together?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Choose a song that evokes a strong emotional response for you. Why does it have this effect, and where does it take your thoughts? Use this as the basis for a new poem or story.

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.