Her neck rises from the white lace necklaced with a black velvet band soft as her pink and purple garden petunias. Syllables of velvet from a tender perennial. Flowers blackened by Death still blooming annually.
Emily created as a young girl (before the poetry) a herbarium in which she collected 424 flowers from the Amherst region. She called them “beautiful children of spring,” and arranged them in a 66-page large leather-bound album with labels of the common names and sometimes the official Linnaean ones. All are in her elegant handwriting. I don’ think she had a black petunia in the book, but I think she would have liked the flower.
A poem by Emily – #334
All the letters I can write Are not fair as this— Syllables of Velvet— Sentences of Plush, Depths of Ruby, undrained, Hid, Lip, for Thee— Play it were a Humming Bird— And just sipped—me—
Some of my mother’s irises always bloom
for Mother’s Day – she never cut them
but a wind-broken stem would be vased
though it saddened her looking so alone.
Flying white standards, bearded with purple falls —
the closest she ever came to royalty.