From WTP Vol. VI #4
By Wally Swist
These deciduous plants adorn
the lawns on which they lavish panicles,
large white flowerheads, growing
among spear-shaped evergreen leaves.
The bushes are as showy as their flowers
that are often thought
to resemble pom-poms.
Every spring and summer, I observe
their enormous blossoms bob among
their greenery as if noticing
someone one hasn’t seen for however long
and whose name is momentarily gone,
as I forget their names every season.
The flowers bloom steadily through
midsummer into August lushness,
then begin their pink
blush in the late summer coolness
among the first harbingers
of the frosts of autumn.
Each year the flowers are dried and sold
on roadside stands to celebrate the turning
of the great wheel of summer.
And each year I finally remember, then forget
until next season, when the hydrangea
bloom so whitely, while my memory slips
away ever so much from year to year, until
it maybe lapses entirely:
Hydrangea, may I remember your name,
as I might inhale your spicy fragrance;
may I recall in winter
the murmur of your petals
whispering on the summer wind.
Wally Swist’s books include Huang Po,The Dimensions of Love (Southern Illinois University Press, 2012) and Candling the Eggs (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2017). His forthcoming books are The Map of Eternity (Shanti Arts, LLC, 2018) and Singing for Nothing: Selected Nonfiction as Literary Memoir (The Operating System, 2018). Recent poetry and essays appear in Anchor: Where Spirituality and Social Justice Meet, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Appalachia Journal, Arts: The Arts in Theological Studies, Negative Capability, and ROSA: Women in Power & Politics.