In Praise of Pansies

I glanced out my May window,
and saw a pansy and her peers
standing out
in the snow with faces
cheery, appearing cherubic.

I praised these strong flowers and
asked them about their life with men.

They spoke of being trodden under foot, and
of hearing their name used and abused
to hurt, to maim, to wound others,
and so, their own way of being in the world.

I hung my head in shame.

Upon seeing this, these pansies
turned their heads to the sky, so that
I, too, might look up and perceive that
those closest to the earth have a worth
rooted in what those who trample
flowers will never know.

6 thoughts on “In Praise of Pansies

  1. arlavergne says:

    My Norwegian-Canadian Grandfather served in WWII. He started out with the Canadian Army in Scotland but was soon seconded to the War Office and MI19 in London. He left NB a forest engineer in 1940. He returned in 1946 wearing the uniform of British Military Intelligence with a pansy on his beret. He helped to reestablish the monarchy in Norway where he was born and where his brothers had served in the Underground. I would never dare set foot on a pansy. Lovely poem. Evocative for me. Verklempt.

    • agjorgenson says:

      Many thanks for your response, and I am so happy that the poem was evocative and moving. I learned, as a result of this poem, that my paternal grandmother, whom I never met and who came to Canada from Norway, was especially fond of pansies. I sometimes feel as if she is near me. It is an odd, but reassuring feeling, given again to me in this poem.

  2. Mary Irene says:

    Such a beautiful message to come across today… thank you, Allen!

  3. shoreacres says:

    Your poem is lovely: a light touch on a difficult subject. I will confess that it didn’t make complete sense to me at first. How can I have lived so many years without knowing the name of a beautiful flower sometimes is used as an insult? Those who think pansies are frail and weak ought to consider that they’re a favorite winter bedding plant here, because they are tough enough to take the winds and cold of our winters!

    • agjorgenson says:

      Yes! I learned from a cousin of mine that they are alpine flowers. My mother also loved them deeply. Our summers were cold enough in Alberta that we had them through the July and August. Here we have them in the spring, and then try to find some shade for them until fall.

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