IMAGE & POEM (APRIL 2011)

About Forsythia

Portrait of Spring or Portrait d'un printemps by Marie-France is a gorgeous portrayal of the season and the golden ebullience of a plant like Forsythia (when it first blooms). Inspired by this picture and these thoughts, I wrote the poem.

The speaker addresses the flowering shrub from a feminine perspective. Having originated in China, the plant became a curious wonder to Western botanists and gardeners. It also became symbolic of anticipation. And here, the poetic voice defines how Forsythia is first perceived, a young girl whose spirit is innocent and sprawling with idealism. These traits also make her vulnerable and restless as she spills into life with breathless energy and hope.

As the verse progresses, the speaker observes that once the bright flowers have faded, the greener essence of truth evolves. Leaves replace blossoms and like most plants, possess mystical properties that induce the midwife/seeress or poet to read their meaning, their patterns that can define the trends of a relationship, one between season and climate, and one between a woman and love.

And although, a partnership may grow stale like a humid air mass or have its vitality turn frail as the texture of a wasp's nest, for now, the speaker wants to rediscover love, become invigorated with that impulsive view of youth. She concludes her dialog with the Forsythia by saying, " your life /was born long ago/ in a mountain pass/that cherished dawn. She alludes not only to its birth place in the Orient, but also to the height of joy, beauty and timeless beginning one might find in the mythical concept of "Shangri-La".


© 2011, Wendy Howe. E-mail.