Sandra McPherson


Poppies - Poem by Sandra McPherson

Orange is the single-hearted color. I remember
How I found them in a vein beside the railroad,
A bumble-bee fumbling for a foothold
While the poppies' petals flagged beneath his boot.

I brought three poppies home and two buds still sheathed.
I amputated them above the root. They lived on artlessly
Beside the window for a while, blazing orange, bearing me
No malice. Each four-fanned surface opened

To the light. They were bright as any orange grove.
I watched them day and night stretch open and tuck shut
With no roots to grip, like laboratory frogs' legs twitching
Or like red beheaded hens still hopping on sheer nerves.

On the third afternoon one bud tore off its green glove
And burst out brazen as Baby New Year.
Two other poppies dropped their petals, leaving four
Scribbly yellow streamers on a purple-brimmed and green

Conical cadaver like a New Year's hat.
I'd meant to celebrate with them, but they seemed
So suddenly tired, these aging ladies in crocheted
Shawl leaves. They'd once been golden as the streets

Of heaven, now they were as hollow.
They couldn't pull together for a last good-bye.
I had outlived them and had only their letters to read,
Fallen around the vase, saying they were sorry.


Comments about Poppies by Sandra McPherson

  • (12/29/2015 2:20:00 PM)


    You captured the sad feeling when something captured dies...very nice poem..i too mourn the death of a picked flower...and poppies only last a few days after they are pollinated..that's nature for you..and Happy New Year... (Report) Reply

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  • Mohammed Asim Nehal (12/29/2015 1:32:00 AM)


    I had outlived them and had only their letters to read,
    Fallen around the vase, saying they were sorry.
    (Report) Reply

  • (12/31/2006 12:51:00 AM)


    very nuice.. happy new yaer (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: sorry, baby, purple, green, remember, together, red, heaven, home, light, night, frog



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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