Lily of the Valley

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stained glass frames
white bells, here and gone,
nature’s embroidery

scent of Grandma’s talcum on
folded linen handkerchiefs

gloved hands clutch
a stiff leather bag,
sheen of a white slip

peeps from beneath a hem
circled with tiny white bells

Copyright 2016 Brenda Davis Harsham

Note: These are two tanka in honor of Poetry Friday and Hello Weekend! Thanks to Poet Julie Larios at The Drift Record for hosting this week! She offers a delightful poem about the disappearance of half a girl-river or river-girl. I hope you have time to visit her and check out our weekly poetry festival.

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66 thoughts on “Lily of the Valley

  1. Love lily of the valley. Reminds me of my grandma’s house. Thought about putting it in here, but as you’ve said…it spreads…and I think it’s poisonous for dogs…though not sure of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brenda, this was a beautiful poem and such a lovely photograph, too. I am happy you shared these memories of your grandmother. I knew that some slips had a sheen to them, some were silky and others had little eyelet decorations. The bell pattern sounds like a perfect match to the flowers!

    My Mom liked Muguet Des Bois, something like this, anyway. When we would get a bucket or two of Lily of the Valley flowers dug up from the side of our house in Bay Village, Ohio the scent was so prevalent. She liked to make casual decorations on the patio, with flowers the dirt included, as if they were potted plants. 🙂
    My Mom took these from her parents’ yard, to three different houses, the last was the lake cottage in the front garden. I had them at my last house, too. They are so sweet and delicate, but hardy under their fragile appearance.
    White gloves hands and purse which held a handkerchief with pretty, painted (printed) or embroidered flowers brings back special memories, Brenda.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. They are the most gorgeous of flower bells!!♥ I remember Avon used to have a perfume and talc, Lily Of The Valley. All the old ladies use to order those when they were on special offer. Interesting you mentioned your grandmother in relation to that fragrance, I don’t think it was perfume my grandmother used at all. She liked perfume called Blue Grass. I actually posted some of these very same flowers on Flickr the other day – snap – we captured the same bells! I never sensed any smell from them when taking the picture though. Could you smell the fragrance?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As soon as I saw that lovely photo I thought of my grandmothers too. Love your evocative poem, Brenda. The white slip peeping from beneath a hem also reminded me of the picture book Her Majesty, Aunt Essie (except she had tiny crowns on her slip).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That is one gorgeous photograph, and your words seem to be transporting many of us back to remembrances of the gloved hands of our grandmothers. Love your line, “sheen of a white slip,” especially. Thanks for sharing, Brenda!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Those coral bells bloom now in my garden Brenda. “nature’s embroidery” is lovely. We both wrote of something in the past this week. You brought my grandmothers back today, good memories.

    Liked by 2 people

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