Friday, October 29, 2010

Poetry Friday: Poppies by Sandra McPherson

Yes, that's me, the orange crayon in the box.
 (I wish I could find the rest of the pictures
 of my colorful cohorts that Halloween.)

I love orange. Not so much traffic cone orange, but golden orange, the color of autumn trees after a heavy rain, when the leaves radiate like inextinguishable flames. I didn't know quite why I loved this color so much until I read the opening line of Poppies, by Sandra McPherson. The progression of imagery in the poem trails into sadness, which is difficult. I wanted more blazing. Sigh.

by Sandra McPherson

Orange is the single-hearted color. I remember
How I found them in a vein beside the railroad,
A bumble-bee fumbling for a foothold
While the poppies' petals flagged beneath his boot.

I brought three poppies home and two buds still sheathed.
I amputated them above the root. They lived on artlessly
Beside the window for a while, blazing orange, bearing me
No malice. Each four-fanned surface opened

To the light. They were bright as any orange grove.
I watched them day and night stretch open and tuck shut

Read the rest here.

P.S. Don't miss's take on Halloween, including their Poetry Haunted House.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Toby at The Writer's Armchair


  1. I really love orange, too -- it was such an unpopular choice when I was in grade school that I always said something safe like green, or even yellow. But now, I don't care. I have orange clothing - shades of bronzes and sunbursts of sari fabric in deepest burnt orange with threads of gold...

    (::sigh:: It's nice to be out of elementary school and not care what anyone else thinks of one's color choices. Too bad it takes way past the fifth grade for that sometimes.)

    I love that poem, too. Hadn't heard of the author, but I always like to collect the local Bay Area voices.

  2. Hello, Miss Orange :)!

    Orange = red + yellow (passion + sunshine).

    Lovely poem; the melancholy is perfect for autumn.

  3. The opening, about orange being the single-hearted color, is so true. And I have to say I feel very sad about those poppies now. I always feel sorry for cut flowers, dying although they seem alive. Now, through this poem, I know I'm not the only one. Thanks so much for sharing this, Sara.

  4. We're all cut flowers, blazing and dying. But yes, just for today, let's focus on the blazing and ignore the rest of it!


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