Waiting for the hibiscus

I read this poem in an anthology of Texas poets that Naomi Shihab Nye edited, Is This Forever, or What? It has such a sweet feeling; it really makes me happy. The speaker's voice is so guileless, his words so simple, and although the poem is only a small window into his relationship with the person he's addressing, what he says - references to scenes we haven't witnessed, his obvious earnestness about their relationship - makes it a dimensioned glimpse, makes me feel like I know them.

Giant, Red Hibiscus

I wish you were here waiting with me in my mother's garden.
The early morning sunlight has splintered
through the fence, has every leaf glittering.

I am waiting for the giant, red face of the hibiscus to open.

And I would like to watch you watch the hibiscus
in early morning,
how it changes from some seemingly red, dead-looking thing
into the most beautiful bloom on earth.

I'm sorry, I forgot. I meant the second most beautiful thing.

How many times have you said
that I never share anything with you,
that I never tell you what's important to me?
Well, here it is. The hibiscus, I mean.

When I saw it yesterday for the first time I remembered difficulty.
And I wanted you to see it.

I wanted us to watch something open and not be afraid.

- Travis Ian Smith

Kelly at Writing and Ruminating is hosting this week's poetry round-up.


Edge 7/18/2008 1:59 PM  

How lovely!

Mme T 7/19/2008 12:06 AM  

A beautiful poem. I can see him/her standing in the garden waiting...

Cloudscome 7/20/2008 3:47 AM  

Sweet mix of pain and longing and tenderness. Love the image of waiting for the flower to open, and the punch of that last line. I posted about another kind of hibiscus that's in my garden today.

Anonymous 4/18/2010 12:37 PM  

Hey, I'd like to send you a copy of my book.


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