September Iris (A Golden Shovel Poem)

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Autumn approaches, kind and Just
Throwing hints of its arrival— aloof, cat-like

Prowling and batting frost through the passing moons,
But by day, hiding, napping, and

Basking in brightness, allowing heat like
a season of summer suns.

Leaves shed their green With
Emerald subsiding to olive before the
Tawny, coppery shades show with certainty.
Dried and crumbled memories fall off of  
Branches, covering the earth with umber tides.

Though the equinox expresses endings, you, Iris, are Just
Standing there, a September bloom, proud-like.
You remind me to harbor my hopes
Inward singing for eventual springing
Iris, surrounded by delicate falls, your standards held high.

The world tries to remind you that summer is settled, but Still
Here you are, Iris, regal and resplendent. I’ll
Remember watching you, Iris—brave, beautiful rebel—rise.

This a Golden Shovel Poem, which I learned about in Nikki Grime’s amazing book called
One Last Word.   

My Golden Shovel poem is written based on the 3rd stanza of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou.
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Iris (NaPoWriMo – Day 5)



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Sometimes, when home was a battleground
And the rest of the world seemed equally formidable,
I’d escape to the tiny fir fortress
That lined the front of the house.
Armored behind an Arborvitae acropolis,
I would wait out the storm
Of drunken denunciations
and loaded questions. Cradled
Between bricks and bushy branches,
I discovered a fragrant friend.
Iris.
She was late, as the flowers of spring
Had come and gone.
Lily of the valley
Whispers could no longer be heard.
She was diagonal—
Leaning toward the light
That forced its way between the shrubs.
She was evanescent.
As soon as I discovered her each summer,
I knew she would only be around for a few days.
Then, she would wilt, shriveling
As she aged.
Fortunately,
She would return each summer—
Just when I forgot, or thought
She’d forgotten—
She would rise up,
A Champion,
Flaunting her fruity falls,
To remind me—
To make sure that
I see—
Even in the darkest corners,
Even when I had waited longer than
I thought I could bear,
Beauty,
Hope,
always pushes through.

Day 5 Prompt from NaPoWriMo.net “In honor of Mary Oliver’s work, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is based in the natural world: it could be about a particular plant, animal, or a particular landscape. But it should be about a slice of the natural world that you have personally experienced and optimally, one that you have experienced often. Try to incorporate specific details while also stating why you find the chosen place or plant/animal meaningful.”