Anne Notations

Sunday, June 26, 2005


Tonight I snipped all but two lingering blossoms from my peony bushes alongside the driveway. Every year these amazing plants burst from the dead winter earth and, in less than two months, become glossy deep-green shrubs loaded with fragrant magenta blooms, so heavy I use peony cages to hold the plants up. They flower for a week or two, then the show is over until next June.

Here's a poem that I saved from The New Yorker of Dec. 16, 2002:


Heart transplants my friend handed me:
four of her own peony bushes
in their fall diguise, the arteries
of truncated, dead wood protruding
from clumps of soil fine-veined with worms.

"Better get them in before the frost."
And so I did, forgetting them
until their June explosion when
it seemed at once they'd fallen in love,
had grown two dozen pink hearts each.

Extravagance, exaggeration,
each one a girl on her first date,
excess perfume, her dress too ruffled,
the words he spoke to her too sweet --
but he was young; he meant it all.

And when they could not bear the pretty
weight of so much heart, I snipped
their dew-sopped blossoms; stuffed them in vases
in every room like tissue boxes
already teary with self-pity.
--Mary Jo Salter


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