Red Geranium and Godly Mignonette

This poem came to mind numerous times as I hiked for two weeks on the Appalachian Trail, taking in all the beauty of the large-flowered trilliums, wild geraniums, spring beauties, buttercups, violets, lady slippers, and everything else.

(Links to pictures of a red geranium and a mignonette plant are provided at the end of the poem.)

Red Geranium and Godly Mignonette

Imagine that any mind ever thought a red geranium!
As if the redness of a red geranium could be anything but a sensual experience
and as if sensual experience could take place before there were any senses.
We know that even God could not imagine the redness of a red geranium
nor the smell of mignonette
when geraniums were not, and mignonette neither.
And even when they were, even God would have to have a nose to smell at the mignonette.
You can't imagine the Holy Ghost sniffing at cherry-pie heliotrope.
Or the Most High, during the coal age, cudgelling his mighty brains
even if he had any brains: straining his mighty mind
to think, among the moss and mud of lizards and mastodons
to think out, in the abstract, when all was twilit green and muddy:
"Now there shall be tum-tiddly-um, and tum-tiddly um,
hey-presto! scarlet geranium!"

We know it couldn't be done.

But imagine, among the mud and the mastodons
God sighing and yearning with tremendous creative yearning, in that dark green mess
oh, for some other beauty, some other beauty
that blossomed at last, red geranium, and mignonette.

--D.H. Lawrence


Pam said…
I heard this, after a very hot, busy day on Poetry Please. It was a poem chosen by someone who did not like poems which did not rhyme. I was so bowled over with it, that I had to look it up. I have read D H Lawrence but had never heard this one. I love it and hope someone will read it for the talking magazine I produce.
Pam Hayes

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