Definition

One must make a distinction however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the result is not poetry, nor till the autocrats among us can be “literalists of the imagination”—above insolence and triviality and can present for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them, shall we have it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kerry's Wednesday Challenge ~ The Language of Flowers

Ophelia: There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray
              love, remember. And there is pansies; that's for
              thoughts...
              There's fennel for you, and columbines
              There's rue for you, and here's some
              for me: we call it herb of Grace a' Sundays.
              You may wear your rue with a difference. There's
              a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they
              withered all when my father died....                                 Hamlet, William Shakespeare


photo credit: Mammaoca2008 via photopin cc
The term "Language of Flowers" came into use in the first decade of the 19th Century, but the tradition of assigning meanings to individual flower types is an ancient one. It is not confined to European society either, with evidence that it was also dates back to early Chinese dynasties. Read more about the history of floral meanings at Languageofflowers.com.

photo credit: Denis Collette...!!! via photopin cc
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green...                                          
The Garden of Love, William Blake

Flowers have been a constant source of inspiration to poets throughout the ages. William Blake immediately comes to mind, with his Ah! Sunflower from Songs of Innocence, and The Sick Rose from Songs of Experience. For an interesting essay on these and others of Blake's flower poems, click HERE.


photo credit: mystuart via photopin cc
A study conducted by the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis makes the following observation:
"The main types of such a language seem to be metaphorical (flowers mirroring inner human life and modeling the art of living, beauty, naturalness, durability and authenticity); symbolic (specific flowers as signs of certain meanings); magical (flowers as bearers of special forces) and mystical (flowers as mediators of incomprehensible feelings of being alive and ego-less, united with reality)"

Our challenge today is to turn to flowers for inspiration, not simply as beautiful objects, but as symbols of deeper emotions and human qualities, or as magical ingredients. The Language of Flowers website provides a comprehensive list of flowers and their meanings HERE. It is always preferable to write a new poem in keeping with the challenge aspect of this Wednesday prompt.


26 comments:

Rachelle Smith Stokes said...

This will be fun!

Robert Bourne said...

looking forward to seeing these posts... should be good... :)

Vandana Sharma said...

Love it!!

Fireblossom said...

I have often referred to the meanings of flowers for my poems. I'm looking forward to trying this.

Ella said...

I love flowers~ Thank you Kerry! The garden will be filled with perfumed thoughts~

Marian said...

nice, Kerry. i too write about flowers a lot, which means maybe this will be a cinch, or maybe impossible. :)

Margaret said...

I am hoping to find some hardy wildflowers today on my trail ride. Just hope I can google and find out what they are. About the only flower I can recognize is a tulip or lily :)

Kerry O'Connor said...

The poems have been amazing so far. i just wish I could come up with a good idea of my own :(

Kim Nelson said...

I have time in the studio that was only this week re-inhabited! HOORAY! I'll do my best to participate.

Kim Nelson said...

I have time in the studio that was only this week re-inhabited! HOORAY! I'll do my best to participate.

grapeling said...

not quite satisfied with my write, so may amend or compost later... ~ M

Liz Rice-Sosne said...

Kerry, thank you so much. This was a great challenge!

Rachelle Smith Stokes said...

I hope to post mine tonight! I'm excited to share and read!

Susie Clevenger said...

What a lovely challenge..I need the beauty of the language of flowers.

thedovecot said...

Flowers are the ultimate inspiration. There is something so innocent and perfect about flowers that just begs to be sung.

wkkortas said...

Perfectly timed--I'd been trying to run this one to ground for a week-plus, and the prompt turned up just in time.

Susie Clevenger said...

Kay, I love your floral poem...a scented dictionary..your page still doesn't love me enough to let me leave a comment. :(

hedgewitch said...

Shay tipped me off to this one Kerry, as it is indeed right up my garden path--my computer is allowing me to get online, but not to access anything on my hard drive, or run any hard-drive sort of programs, like Word, so I have reposted an older poem---I hope I will be forgiven this once.

If the&^%$!!@$ thing is alive in the morning, I will be back to read. (I've ordered a replacement, but can't expect it before next week.)

Ella said...

Thank you Kerry! I adore this challenge~

Margaret said...

Midnight here... will be back in the morning to visit and read.

Susan said...

Way past bedtime since this poem squirmed around and refused to finish.
In honor of Emily, I hope to make it even more precise and more able to contain the universe. I'll be reading your flower poems tomorrow.

L. Edgar Otto said...

Way past midnight on Hump day... I did read alot of the interesting poems and photos, choices of flowers and may respond. I then wrote one as a bit of comic relief perhaps.

Rachelle Smith Stokes said...

Just submitted mine, whew! I Really wanted to write this! It was rough, especially when you're poems style completely changes in the end and you get it. lol Oh poetry.

Grandmother (Mary) said...

I liked this prompt although it took me in a whole other direction than I expected.

Gloria Baker said...

I love flowers these look beautiful!

manicddaily said...

Hey Kerry, mine is new but quite odd. k.