Originally read: January 4, 2013
More information about the Poet: Linda Pastan
I write this at the end of the poem:
"I'm glad that the poem was only titled 'Flowers -- anything added would probably bring too much sentimentality or, I, at least, would've thought of this poem as cliche on first glance."
And well it can be seen as the cliche "write an observation about nature then relate it to the personal" poem -- which has been done even before from Romanticism to the Tang Dynasty Poets to the Neoromantics to poets like Mary Oliver, Gary Snyder, Maxine Kumin etc. Nature and poetry. Hand in hand.
The poem does so little in terms of technique which is good because the focus directly shifts after a few lines of description/observation. There's one rhetorical question, one similes, and one offbeat adjective/noun combination that catch my eye in this poem (yes there's one more simile, and another offbeat adj/noun combination, but those flow too well with the poem -- these techniques break the observation motif the poem has).
Anyway, the first half of the poem fits the bill until we get to the rhetorical question "Is it real?" So the question could refer to the first part, be the core of the poem until the end, and/or a question meant for the speaker to continue the flow of the poem. It's needed at the place right there to shift the direction to, at least, keep my interest.
The simile after the rhetorical question, "unnatural / as makeup on a child" brings in the "human" element to the poem. Also unnatural in regards to human in a nature poem -- maybe a hint of the sublime, maybe a hint of the personal. It's not really followed through in the poem -- the non-comparison after a simile leaves me to wonder.
I found this adjective noun combination a bit strange, "secular lilies." I wrote this down as notes,"it's a little strange but the meaning makes up for it 1) observational 2)sterile-like 3)distant." In regards to this poem, it is secular, sterile, and observant, but they are "engorge / with scent" so I get this weird olfactory image of smelling nothing.