Postcard #33: Where the Wild Iris Grow

You will be my death, and happily I shall be
….

drowning in a sea of petals, soft as your fading kisses
under waves of green blades, blackest earth and thistle,
drifting in tall grass tides, met by chorus of frogs and flies

When they dump my body, I will need no burial, no ceremony
just the wild iris shall mark my passing like it did my living
for here it bore witness to my every secret joy and doomed delight
every fear and tears I could not hide

I will disappear forever here
even stench of my decay will seem as part of the marsh

all along the outline of my body, there shall grow the most glorious
the tallest and best iris the world will never know
all in the shape of who was once me
where once my belly, full and fat, will be mushy and wet
home for the frogs and snakes, my body feast and fertilizer
finally I will fulfill some great purpose
if only for the littlest things


Finally no one will think me ugly or unwanted when
every part of me is used and taken, valued by every life
when all of me left are bones poking out of the dark chocolate earth
to tell you I was here, I made a difference, I was dead and born
in this place, deep in this bed of waving Elysian green
where my tears have become dew, no longer shed in want of you
secreted my life away by my own desire, I fell for the last time
I laid back, relaxed into the forever dream, and stayed

Yet
….

There is too much of me to let forgot or disappear
I leave traces everywhere, messages and hopes, poems like gropes
scraps, scribbles, and notes
the hand print evidence of my lost loves and longings
the daily updated guide of how to navigate my heart
twists, turns, and bends
all signals beeping and flashing, neon signs, firefly lights

I say I’d die happily, overdosed completely on you and that
You would be the welcome assassin to finish me, take your sword
and cut me out of existence, slash me out of misery, but….

What rude gift, what curse, what horrible disservice then
I be to you my sweetest friend!   Already there is a
slicing, stabbing, bleeding, but no death, just the shade of it
haunting me in your absence, my favorite sorrow, preferred torture
just a waiting, watching, building up, letting myself down
staring at the iris, eye of heaven, staring back at me
and I sit, listen, smile suddenly, and sing your name
to the sky like a prayer without the asking, or the praising

I sing only to make music out of your name
here where I am the only person alone in the world
where the wild iris grow.

===============================

The Message of the Iris

Patron Goddess: Iris (Greek) Goddess of the Rainbow
Origin of the Flower’s name: Named after the Goddess Iris whose name means “Eye of Heaven” — her principal job was to take messages of love from the “eye of heaven” to earth, using the rainbow as bridge between worlds.
Ceremonial Tribute: Iris are traditionally planted by Greek men on the graves of their beloved as a tribute to the goddess Iris, whose duty it was to take the souls of women to the Elysian fields.
Omen: Sign of lost love and grief, especially for young women and girls who are usually fated to be taken into the afterlife by Iris.
Symbolism of the Petals: Three large petals of iris represent faith, wisdom and valor. It is a special honor to give one to a man as a favor, because for her to give an iris to him meant she found in him these qualities. Charles IV (1294-1328) was first ruler to include the iris on the French banner– and iris became the basis for the French fleur-de-lis.
Meaning of the Colors: Purple: wisdom and compliments, Blue: faith and hope, Yellow: passion, White: purity
Victorian flower language meaning: Message
20th century flower language: Eloquence
Official Emblem: State flower of Tennessee, Provincial flower of Québec, Canada (iris versicolore), Symbol of Brussels, Belgium (stylized Yellow Iris)

What the Wild Iris means to me: Representation of faithful, enduring friendship, and the Goddess Iris’ “rainbow promise” of future hopes and goals fulfilled.

When I say “you will be my death” and “You would be the welcome assassin to finish me” I talk about letting a friend let me go, and a friend saying good-bye to me (something I think would mean the death of me) but to do so would not be fair to them, or to me. I believe we are meant to stay friends with the people we make friends with, even the ones we lose touch with, despite the ones who reject us for one stupid reason or other. What matters most is love, that lasts longer than any moments we share.

To be “dead” and buried in a field of wild iris, is to come to the end of my life knowing I have lived with the three-petaled virtues symbolized by the flower: faith, wisdom, and valor.  Furthermore, since they are not domesticated iris, growing wild and untended by people, this means living by my own rules, fierce and free.

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4 thoughts on “Postcard #33: Where the Wild Iris Grow

    1. Thank you! I had to add that explanation *just in case* anyone feared I was expressing a suicidal tendency. Ouch, right? Plus, I just love the language of flowers and feel blessed to live near fields of wild iris — what a lovely daily reminder of the three virtues I love most!

    1. Yes! I am VERY familiar with that poem and have been inspired by it for years. The iris flower is also a favorite of mine. Every time I see them blossom each year I’m reminded of their significance, too. Thank you!

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