Fugitive Flower Names by Alan Swope

Some names escape me, 

here one day, gone the next. 

“Magnolia” disappears, 

an ancient genus, magnolia,

but I forget the word—

a pearl lost in murky waters 

despite all my groping in the mud.

(Ah, the mud. Might a pure lotus 

rise from this ooze?)

Without warning, the word returns,

big and bright as a supermoon.

“Geraniums,” too, 

those lovely medicinal,

edible blooms—lemon, ginger, mint flavors.

I see their faces; 

their names, alas, bolt 

from memory.

My hopeful search party

returns empty-handed. 

Without a name, a flower

is still a flower.

“A rose by any other

word would smell as sweet.” 

Still, losing these names

puzzles me.

A flower’s life is fleeting.

Frail morning glories bloom

like tender trumpets,

die the same day.  

Does the loss of the name

soften the loss of the blossom?

Alan Swope’s poetry has been published in Fort Da, Front Range Review, Perceptions Magazine, Poetic Sun, and Roanoke Rambler. He is a practicing psychotherapist and an emeritus professor with the California School of Professional Psychology. Alan enjoys singing, acting, travel, cinema, and gardening.

Leave a Reply