For Anita, for her birthday

Joy is never earned
It can only be a gift

And the moment it arrives
The winds again begin to lift

But favour can be courted
By things beautiful and bright

And we can gently tempt
That little bird to alight

If every soul’s a garden
We choose what we plant

And every tiny flower
Has the power to enchant

Note: Poems rarely come to me as images, but this one did – the idea of blossoms bursting forth out of someone’s chest, a vibrant garden. How even if we cannot control when or how joy arrives in our lives, we can create the conditions for it to thrive. This image is particularly powerful because hummingbirds have been a special connection between Rose and my mom – a little secret love language between them.

I was expecting this poem to be longer – I had quite a few notes of ideas that I teased out the actual phrases from. But I was surprised to discover that I had reached the point of what I wanted to say, and best not to button it up with an extra stanza – I can simply flit off as well.

There was something else I wanted to reflect on, that our internal gardens also need a safe space for sad blooms, where tendrils curl clingingly to protective trellises. Alongside the extravagant flowers, this place must exist, too. I thought maybe this poem could hold them both, but I think if this idea finds it own place, it will be somewhere else.

The scansion is a little bit uneven in places – it just slightly trips you up. Part of me is bothered by this, because it seems a bit messy – but part of me really likes the feel of it, that it mimics the abrupt movements of a hummingbird’s flight pattern. There is something appropriate about getting caught up short, or out of sync here and there.

Photo by Birger Strahl on Unsplash