Irises


Irises by Vincent van Gogh
Irises by Vincent van Gogh

I watch from my folding chair,
the low autumn sun measuring out
the remains of the day.
She, genuflecting in the garden,
places four purple seedlings
into the dark damp earth,
pushing each with a jab of her fingers
and a prayer to bloom their beginning –
(those same fingers that used to softly
trace the curvature of the small of my back
when we made love)
purple irises close to the ground
She says they are insanely beautiful
and I say, “Did you know van Gogh painted
Irises from an insane asylum in Saint-Remy,
locked in the grip of unimaginable pain and suffering?”
She looks at me…looks through me,
as a small tear appears in the corner of her eye.
She knows.
She knows her garden better than she knows me,
but she knows that once these flowers root,
I am leaving her.
Turning back above these flowers,
my sweet-faced wife tilts a rusted watering can,
wanting more leaves, more flowers,
more life!  as water pours from the spout.
Five tongue-shaped petals fall ever so slowly
onto the black earth before she bends
and picks up each severed petal
and puts them oh so carefully in her pocket.

The Tiger Flower by D.L.McHale



christian
This is a short “fable” I wrote inspired by the incredible story of the daughter of Author, Christine Nolfi, as told in her wonderful article “The Woman I Raised”  Please take a moment and visit Christine’s post at
 http://christinenolfi.com/2013/04/the-woman-i-raised/ (Part of her continuing series on The Celebration of Women!

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The Elder Women of the villages spoke of a legend; they told a tale of a rare and exotic flower that grew in the dense lush jungles of the Philippines. It was said that no other flower existed like it anywhere in the world. No one had ever seen this flower live for it was said that to actually see it one had to be a True Believer and to date none of the Elders could remember such a person ever coming to the islands.

Although no one had ever seen one, everyone on the islands knew its name: it was called, quite simply, the Tiger Flower.

While the islands were full of bright, sun-dappled meadows dancing with flowers of every imaginable color, the Tiger Flower grew alone…somewhere deep in the jungle beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds.  At its base grew three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals.  The three shoots needed the Tiger Flower to survive, and the Tiger Flower needed the three shoots to give it purpose.

In the depths of the jungle, no sunlight could penetrate the dark tangle of palms and fronds, but the Tiger Lily, it was said, survived because it had Fire in its veins.  Despite its estrangement from the flowers of every imaginable colors dancing in the bright, sun-dappled meadows elsewhere on the islands, the Tiger Flower was not a jealous flower, nor did it consider itself a victim.  It  fought each and every day simply to survive, and to ensure the survival of the three distinct shoots huddled diminutively beneath its protective pedals.

One day, a very special Woman arrived on the island.  The Elder Women knew she was special because she wore beautiful flowing robes of Compassion and Understanding.  On her feet she wore bejeweled sandals of Hope and Promise. She was full of Light and Laughter. She was a Weaver of Words, a Story Teller, and a Poetess.  They called her  “Mother” because she was of the Earth and full of Nurture.  But they could see she was one more thing as well.  One more very important thing:

She was a True Believer.

You see, she had come because back in the World she had a dream of the Tiger Flower. When she closed her eyes tightly in Faith and Unconditional Love, she could see the Tiger Flower, there deep in the jungle beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds, fighting for meaning. Fighting for Love and Acceptance. She could see at its base the three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals, fighting for survival.  In her Dream of Dreams, she knew she had to come to the islands to bring the Tiger Flower and the three shoots back to the World. To bring them back into the Light.

The Elder Women of the villages led Mother to the bright, sun-dappled meadows dancing with flowers of every imaginable color, where it met the edge of the depths of the jungle, where no sunlight could penetrate the dark tangle of palms and fronds.  They watched as she disappeared into the darkness.

Once more, Mother closed her eyes tightly in Faith and Unconditional Love.  She did not need open eyes to guide her, for she had the vision of her Dream.  She walked deep into the jungle, and when she had walked an hour or so, she felt the air rush from her lungs and a single tear of joy fall from her closed eyes.  Slowly, she opened her eyes and there, beneath the dark tangled palms and fronds, she saw what she had waited her whole life to see: a Tiger Flower, surrounded by three distinct shoots, huddled diminutive beneath its protective pedals.

She kneeled gently upon one knee, and with a Kind and Loving Hand, she thrust her fingers into the soft earth, careful so as not to severe the island’s Heritage from the flower and the shoots, and she lifted the flower to her bosom in a warm and tight embrace.  Slowly, and with Patience and Enduring Love, she carried the Tiger Flower and the three distinct shoots, out of the jungle, back to the World, and into the Light.

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Nearly twenty years has passed since Mother returned from the islands.  The Tiger Flower has bloomed fully in the Light and is now a beautiful young Tiger Lily, dancing in sun-dappled meadows.  She named the flower Christian, for she was truly “Christ-like” in her own growing abilities to Forgive and Love and Nurture others into fully flowering.

The three distinct shoots, too, have blossomed, in every imaginable color.  When they are older, she would tell them of the Elder Women of the villages, and of dense jungle and the dark tangle of palms and fronds.

But for now, she is content to see them all Dream their own Dreams.

In the Dying Petals of the Poet’s Flower


poet sleeping

Past the tick-tick-tocking of the midnight hour,
Wrapped in sweat-stained cotton sheets,
Robbed of sleep and feeling sour
Like a muffled drum sounding nothing beats –
In the dying petals of the poet’s flower.

This syrup sleep removes the pain,
While dreams remain beyond my reach.
A whiskey slumber subdues the brain
While my toss-n-turn reveals a breach,
As time grinds on just the same.

I rise to write the poet’s dribble
And gorge upon liters of stale red wine.
Behold, my words, a bastard’s scribble!
Writ upon the passage of borrowed time.
Each tick, each tock, from my life is nibbled

I cannot rest while my muse is clanging
Inside my head a poor man’s verse,
Nor can I stop the incessant banging
As my thirst for libations meets an empty purse!
These words are ripe for a morning hanging.

Upon the tick-tick-tocking of the morning hour,
Sweet sleep descends upon my brow.
Within my bed I hide and cower;
An ink-less pen is a horseless plough –
In the dying petals of the poet’s flower.