The buds on the poppy plant outside just outside our front gate have been growing taut and round over the last few weeks. One night there was a bud, and the next morning a saucer-sized white papery flower had burst from its furry little bundle.

The poppies send up their
orange flares; swaying
in the wind, their congregations
are a levitation

of bright dust, of thin
and lacy leaves.
There isn’t a place
in this world that doesn’t

sooner or later drown
in the indigos of darkness,
but now, for a while,
the roughage

shines like a miracle
as it floats above everything
with its yellow hair.
Of course nothing stops the cold,

black, curved blade
from hooking forward—
of course
loss is the great lesson.

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?
— Poppies by Mary Oliver

Not sure who (or what) so cruelly cut the flower from its stalk - the same thing happened to our first purple tulips - but I'm going to take cues from Mary Oliver: loss is the great lesson, and there are more buds ripening to round on the plant just outside our gate.

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