Easter Violets

Attributing meaning to flowers is not only a Victorian tradition but a Catholic one as well; many flowers have special meanings pertaining to Our Lady. Interestingly, the Marian definitions are strikingly opposite to the Victorian ones. In this poem, I focused on marigolds (“Mary’s gold”/”Grief”), carnations (“Mary’s love of God”/”Disdain”), and dandelions (“Mary’s bitter sorrows”/”Rustic oracle”) and tried to play up the double meaning of each.

They say the cross was made of cypress and pine,
that he was laid in marigolds
after the nails were pried from his open palms.

They say the cross was made of cypress and pine,
that he was bathed in myrrh
when he was interred and when he was crowned.

They say the cross was made of cypress and pine,
that he wore a coronet
with carnations woven into the thorns.

They say the cross was made of cypress and pine,
that he was pierced in his side,
fulfilling a prophecy of dandelions already taking root.

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