Now there are freesias by the window, blue-mauve and yellow
in an old white tea-pot we don't use. One flowerhead broke,
and then was poked into the spout, so that its arching spray
might make a joke of pouring. Out of lolling, thick-braided calyces
three-over-three, their petals open, lined with a little darkness of their own;
inside they're white with sunlight, just grey without, and then below
another glow of yellow, a shadow there of green. And this is all to hold
what seem like embryos or emblems of themselves, elements,
self-coloured at their centres.
They are self-centred! Such bright and mildly stubborn tones,
colour and textures wrong against the dull red wall, refusing to blend,
impose themselves with softness. They'd never grow for us, they need
pampering under a gleaming moistened skin of glass or plastic;
they fray and droop, decay, but still demand to stay. To be here
they pushed aside great rounds of blazing sunflowers in splendour, mounds
of tawny marigolds, Michaelmas daisies, purple asters, grinning broad and gay
in bucketfuls down in the market square, seasonable, eager to please and easy.
But lazy, sly and shameless, these freesias sold themselves with perfume, the kind,
you know, which smells of ripeness, heady, lush, excessive, conjuring scent on warm skin,
imagined boudoirs, oozing and juice and indolence, bruised peaches,
softening melons, liquefying plums...
Generous and demanding, effusive, greedy, given to say thank you,
when rather they'd extract it from us as their due.