I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, June 6, 2013

White Peonies

Peonies by Mary Oliver  

This morning the green fists of the peonies
are getting ready....
and they open--
pools of lace,
white and pink--

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again--
beauty the brave, the exemplary....
Blazing open....
and [you] fill your arms
with the white and pink flowers,

condensed by me

This week's market flowers were peonies.

Just cut, still dewy, buckets and buckets of tight golf ball-like buds.
''What are these?'' I murmured to myself, "Pink? Or..white?"
I am very partial to the peonies that are so pale a pink, like the inside of an eggshell, so pale they perhaps are truly white...

a favorite painting, by John Singer Sargent: ''that magical transient moment that lasts no more than a couple of minutes most -- ''

Since it is called Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose...I suppose the pink flower are not peonies. But I always thought they were....( and I am guessing the child is very happy she was not named Peony!)
The little golf balls burst into bloom overnight, before I could take their picture.

And they are white, creamy, pearly, perfect white....
with buttery chartreuse inners.

So very sweetly scented, who knew?

And so fragile.

Will they last through the day?

Or like the day's one brief instant of springtime, will they be gone?

I saved the petals. I gathered them in my old white colander, for potpourri, for stuffing into hearts. I hope they dry and their delicate perfume lingers.



gone to the beach.....


link for more backstory on the Sargent painting: here


  1. Beautiful.

    Thank you so much for the beautiful images.

    I have today off so I'm going to go look for flowers.


  2. We had a row of peonies all down one side of our house growing up, as well as an 'island' in the yard - the really dark wine red, pinks, and pure whites (no greenish middles). Mom would cut them and bring them inside, she put an aspirin in the water. If undisturbed, the flowers would last days - but then if the table got bumped, ALL the petals fell off! I still love the way they smell!

    Did you know, if you buy them in 'golf ball' stage you can keep them in the fridge for days or sometimes weeks? They won't open until they get warm. And the buds won't open at all if there are no ants in their growing beds - the ants eat the 'glue' that holds the buds closed. Here I always thought the ants were just a pest....

    Thanks for the memories!


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