Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, FLEUR DE LYS, by CORINNE HUNTINGTON JACKSON



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FLEUR DE LYS, by            
First Line: I remember / one time she walked within
Last Line: Must be a glory to behold.
Subject(s): Grandchildren; Grandsons; Granddaughters


I remember
One time she walked within the fragrant confines
Of that retreat from worldly matters
Which she termed her "Friendship Garden."
Down long aisles of iris she led, as among his rarer wines
A vintager might pass in pride of old scents and tastes:
"My pastor had this hearty stemmed Lady Cordilier;
The spike coquetting next her is Senorita Madeleine;
Whom our Mexican-bred neighbor so much resembles.
This rose brunette from Kansas I have named Mina May. I packed
The soil fast about her roots the very day my grandchild
Opened her iris eyes upon the gardens of this planet.
The slightly stooping scholar in the somber, stippled hood
Lived a recluse in the yards of Gordon's Iowa homeplace.
And this with the red cape, I brought from the campus of Columbia,
Swatching it as tight as the Dante head I wrought in bronze.
You will recognize this from an old, rediscovered Land, Caintuck.
This one, in orchid and lace, Mother nursed and tended
In the southerly warm land, where she went to die.
She declared that its lavender delicacy of bloom
Once graced the Eleventh Louis' arched withdrawing room."

Before we left she bent to stroke, with light, sure caress,
The Danish blue she had christened for our singing master,
One brief earth year removed. . . .

Does it matter that here inert iris roots
Await their loosing, too long delayed, for this season's growth?
Today, I believe, she breaks ground for an Elysian iris bed
And the great and the lesser great watch the fast renewal
Of mundane green they had not known they missed --
The Empress Theodora seeks a lovelier fleur de lys,
For the crown she is wont to wear on festal days --
And kings wise and kings foolish glance at Joan of Orleans
And shudder to recall the lilies of France in captivity.

The play of prismatic colors in the new "Friendship Garden"
Must be a glory to behold.





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