Peonies Make Me Happy

“Peonies” by Mary Oliver

This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers

and they open —
pools of lace,
white and pink —
and all day the black ants climb over them,

boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away

to their dark, underground cities —
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,

the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
and rise,
their red stems holding

all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again —
beauty the brave, the exemplary,

blazing open.
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?

I’ve been waiting so long for these beauties to open. I read this poem a few weeks ago and typed it in here in anticipation of the morning when they’d finally open. So I could share it, in celebration, with you.

Every morning I’d check on them after my breakfast. The little ants have been doing their work to help them open.

Finally yesterday morning it happened.

If only I could share that aroma with you too…

What is your favorite flower?

2 thoughts on “Peonies Make Me Happy

  1. Good Morning Erin … my story of Peonies which brings back so many memories are of a man named Harry Tecklenburg (President at Procter & Gamble) who I had the honor of working for in Norwich, NY … gosh almost 30 years ago now. He would bring to the office peonies from his garden and put them on my desk in a vase. He would tell me that there were no ants in them … because if you burn the ends of stems the ants would disappear! He was right…of course! Even after his retirement he would call me and say meet me at the back door of the building I have flowers for you. I had fresh peonies every week until they stopped blooming. So that is my story and seeing your article brought back fond memories of a wonderful caring person, Mr. Tecklenburg. Hugs, Melinda


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