Poetry Friday: Stealing Lilacs by Alice N. Persons

   Poetry Friday is hosted by Random Noodling today.

We have one lilac tree which leans into our kitchen window.  All year long I wait for the very short time in which I can look forward to its blooms. Blink, and they are gone.  Last year, they came into full bloom one morning, and by the time I’d arrived back home from work, a fierce thunderstorm had blown all the blossoms away.  No more lilacs…until last week.  This year, I get to enjoy them just a bit more!

Stealing Lilacs  by  Alice N. Persons
A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor’s tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids’ arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn’t begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.

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12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Stealing Lilacs by Alice N. Persons

  1. Today as I was leaving work, I was enveloped by the scent of lilacs–white ones–that are just outside the library door. Heavenly.

  2. I have never seen lilacs in the flesh. It doesn’t grow naturally where I come from. But I could imagine its beauty. It is in summer that flowers bloom where I am from. It is summer and the gardens are beautiful.

  3. We have a lilac. Such a fabulous reminder of spring. When I saw your poem, I was reminded of the boo White Lilacs by Carolyn Meyer. It’s a story about Dillon, TX in which the white community wants to raze the black community’s homes to create a park Takes place in 1921 and I believe based on a true event. I love when a poem reminds you of a book.

  4. Oh, I love that poem! I don’t have a lilac bush now, but when I was growing up, there was a very large one at the back corner of our house. I loved it. There’s just nothing like a lilac’s scent!

  5. I’m glad your lilacs have hung around for longer this year! I look forward to our cherry blossoms annually and would be very disappointed if they were gone in a day. Fascinating poem.

  6. I can never think of lilacs without thinking outhouse! A stand of beautiful lilacs just a ways away from an old house and its well are signs of where an outhouse used to stand (or still stands).

  7. Lilacs – that scent is divine! So glad yours blossoms have hung around for a bit this year. Enjoy that luscious smell for as long as it lasts! I’ve also read the book White Lilacs mentioned by Jone, such a powerful book.

  8. Both my recent homes have had one lilac bush which always delighted me, but somehow I never noticed how short-lived the lilac time is! Does that mean I have or haven’t been paying enough attention! They are special indeed and I love your choice of poem–fresh and current-sounding as well as eternal in its sentiment. Tara, do you know this band? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lilac_Time
    I was/am a fan of Stephen Duffy/Tin Tin’s solo work, but I haven’t listened to The Lilac Time. Here’s a song from their latest album:

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