If you often find yourself at a loss for words
or don’t know what to say to those you love,
just extract poetry out of poverty, this dystopia
of civilization rendered fragrant,
blossoming onto star-blue fields of loosestrife,
heady spools of spike lavender, of edible clover
beckoning to say without bruising
a jot of dog’s tooth violet, a nib of larkspur notes,
or the day’s perfumed reports of indigo
in the gloaming—
what to say to those
whom you love in this world?
Use floriography, or as the flower-sellers put it,
Say it with flowers.
—Indigo, larkspur, star-blue, my dear.
About this Poem
“This poem explores the ancient practice of floriography, the coded language of flowers, as a way to express human love through the use of fragrance, colors, and vivid symbolism. By elucidating the phenomenon of florescence alongside the art of floral arrangement, the poem encourages readers to extract poetry and beauty out of a dystopic world.”
—Karen An-Hwei Lee
Karen An-Hwei Lee
Karen An-Hwei Lee is the author of three books, including Phyla of Joy (Tupelo, 2012), Ardor (Tupelo, 2008), and In Media Res (Sarabande, 2004), winner of the Norma Faber First Book Award.
Date Published: 2019-10-14
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/floriography