Flower Poetry Fridays: The White Lily

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


White Lily with Water Drops
White Lily with Water Drops (by Foxytocin at DeviantArt)

WITH its pure and stainless breast,
See the graceful Lily rise,
Bearing on its snowy vest
Pearly dew-drops from the skies.

Emblem of the youthful mind—
Fresh from Nature’s pencil bright,
And by Heaven’s own smile refin’d
For unfading realms of light.

Fair One—may thy life below,
Like that peaceful flow’ret prove,
And thy spirit’s fragrance flow
O’er the fervent heart of love.

Of thyself forgetful still,
All who dwell around thee bless,
Heedful of thy Maker’s will,
Beautiful in lowliness.

Long may faithful Memory dwell
On thy virtues fond and true,
And Affection’s tablet tell
Where the stainless Lily grew.

The waxy petals of the lily seem so pearly white. It’s as if they’ve been untouched and not blemished in any way, like a young lady.

Refined, maybe. Virtuous, of course. Beautiful, yes.

A common theme running through Mrs. Sigourney’s writing is a dutiful reverence for a Higher Power, called “Thy Maker” in this short poem. She speaks about Heaven smiling down on the purity and gracefulness of the stainless lily.

If we all could be like the lily, being ‘beautiful in lowliness’, the world would be a better place. Pride, envy and greed get in the way for many of us, so it’s hard to be like the simple, unstained flower.

My favorite lines are, “Of thyself forgetful still, All who dwell around thee bless”. It’s as if the white lily adorns the whole community where she grows because she is a beautiful flower.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “Flora’s Party”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Lobelia Cardinalis

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


Lobelia Cardinalis
Lobelia Cardinalis

"CULL me a flower," the Indian maid
Unto her lover sigh’d—
"Such as thy noble spirit deems
Fit for thy chosen bride.

"And I will wear it on my brow
When from this home I part,
And enter to thy forest bower,
Thy true love in my heart."

With meek intent, and searching glance,
The chieftain pac’d the sod—
Who, with Acteon’s haughty stride,
Had erst that region trod.

Not now, to rouse the slumbering deer,
Or scathe the eagle’s throne,
Thro’ those secluded shades he roam’d—
His heart was love’s alone.

He cut the rich, wild rose, that still
A lingering radiance cast—
Yet soon its falling petals told
Its day of pride was past.

He pluck’d the iris, deeply blue,
The amaryllis, bright,
And stor’d their treasures through the day,
But cast them forth at night.

He bound the water-lily white,
Amid her lustrous hair,
But found her black and flashing eye
Requir’d a gem more rare.

At length, beside its mantling pool,
Majestic and serene,
He saw the proud Lobelia tower
In beauty, like a queen.

That eve, the maiden’s ebon locks
Reveal’d its glowing power,
Amid the simple, nuptial rites
That grac’d the chieftain’s bower.

But she, who, by that stately flower,
Her lover’s preference knew,
Was doom’d, alas ! in youthful bloom,
To share its frailty, too ;

For ere again its scarlet spire
Rejoic’d in summer’s eye,
She droop’d amid her forest home—
Her fount of life was dry.

Then, as the ebbing pulse declin’d,
Forth from her sacred nook,
With swimming eye, and trembling hand,
Her bridal wreath she took,

And bound its wither’d floral bells
Around her temples pale,
And faintly to her maidens spake—
For breath began to fail :—

"Should the last death-pang shake me sore,
(For on they come with power,)
Press closer in my ice-cold hand
My husband’s token-flower;

And rear the turf-mound broad and high
To span my lonely grave,
That nought may sever from my locks
The gift of love he gave—

So, when the dance of souls goes forth
Athwart the starry plain,
He’ll know me by his chosen flower,
And I’ll be his again."

I liked this tale of an Indian chieftain searching high and low for the perfect flower to weave into his lover’s hair. The wild rose he first tried wasn’t good enough because the petals of these dainty flowers fell away too quickly.

The Chief tried other flowers, like the blue iris, bright amaryllis, and a white water lily, but none of these could be sufficient to adorn her crown. He needed something more rare for his stunning bride.

The Cardinal Flower, Lobelia cardinalis, cast a spell on the Chief once he saw its fiery red blooms. He knew this was the beautiful and rare flower that could rightfully serve as a token of his love.

Alas, the maiden wasn’t long for this world. On her death bed she wore her bridal wreath of crimson lobelia flowers so that her chief would know her in the afterlife and they could be together for eternity.

How sweet was that?!

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The White Lily”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: The Disobedient Pansy

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


Pansy in a Pot
Pansy in a Pot

     A PANSY had many little ones. She talked much with them daily—instructing them, and set them a good example of sweet temper and humility.
     She said often to them, "As soon as the great sun sinks away from you, and you feel the cool, fresh dews, compose yourself to rest. Look up smilingly, and breathe one sweet breath to Him who giveth the sun-beam, and the drops of dew.
     When you have offered this, (the prayer of all good flowers,) fold your leaves, and bend your heads in sleep, for He will take care of you. The buds that thus early and piously go to rest, will flourish and be
pleasing in His sight."
     So her children obeyed her, all except one.
This young pansy grew on rather a longer
stalk than the others ; and it said, "I wonder
why my mother is thus always lecturing us ?"
     "I think I know as much as she. I do not
like to go so early to bed. I have heard that
those who have genius are always brightest
when it is late. I wish to see how the world
looks at midnight."
     So she omitted her prayers, and strained her
eyes open as wide as she could. Her brothers
and sisters were quietly sleeping around her,
and she laughed at what she called their stupidity.
     By and by she began to grow tired, when
suddenly a huge black spider seized her in his
claws. She cried out in terror, but no one
was awake to hear her.

     He held her so tight that she could scarcely
breathe, and tears stood in her large, dark eyes.
In the gray dawn he spun a web over her face,
and fastened it to a neighboring shrub.
     Her mother awoke early, and lamented over
her ; "Oh, my poor daughter, would that I
could help you ! Perhaps He, to whom you
forgot to pray, who is so good to all, may yet
cause these chains to fall from you."
     Bitterly did the young pansy deplore her
disobedience. Her fright, and the spider’s
cords, with their tight lacing, had so com-
pressed her heart and lungs, that she turned
pale, and panted for breath.
     When the noon-day sun beat fiercely upon
her, she drooped and faded away—saying, with
her last, faint sigh, "Oh ! brothers and sisters,
take warning by my sad fate. Never disobey
our dear mother, for she is wiser than we."

The moral of the story was that it’s better to say your evening prayers than risk losing the protection of the One from above, else something bad could happen to you while you lay sleeping.

All along we’ve known that “Mother knows best”, but some of us just have to try things out for ourselves and learn the hard way that we should have listened better.

The young pansy did not see the folly of staying out late with no one near for help or protection. She learned too late why mother lectured her little ones on taking the righteous path.

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Lobelia Cardinalis”.

Flower Poetry Fridays: He Told His Love In Flowers

Welcome back to Flower Poetry Fridays with Mrs. Sigourney. Each Friday a new poem will be posted from her The Voice Of Flowers.


A rose is a rose.
A rose is a rose.

I’LL tell thee a story, friend,
Here, under this shady tree ;
If thou ‘lt keep it close in thy faithful breast,
I’ll whisper the whole to thee

I had a lover once,
In my early, sunny hours ;
A fair and fanciful youth was he,
And he told his love in flowers.

I remember its waking sigh ;—
We roam’d in a verdant spot,
And he cull’d for me a cluster bright
Of the purple "Forget me not."

But I was a giddy girl,
So I toss’d it soon away,
Gathering the dandelion buds,
And the wild-grape’s gadding spray.

Tiny blue strict forget-me-not.
Tiny blue strict forget-me-not.

He mark’d their blended hues
With sad, reproachful eye—
For one was the symbol of thoughtless mirth,
And one of coquetry.

Yet he would not be baffled thus—
So he brought for my chrystal vase
The Rose-geranium’s tender bloom,
And the blushing Hawthorn’s grace.

And a brilliant and fresh bouquet
Of the rich Moss-rose he bore,
Whose eloquent buds with dew-drops pearl’d,
Were full of the heart’s deep lore.

I could not refuse the gift,
Though I knew the spell it wove ;—
But I gave him back a snow-white bud :
" Too young—too young to love."

Then he proffer’d a myrtle wreath,
With damask roses fair,
And took the liberty—only think !
To bind it round my hair.

And he prest in my yielding hand
The Everlasting Pea,
Whose questioning lip of perfume breath’d,
" Oh, say, wilt thou go with me?"

Yet we were but children still,
And our love, tho’ it seem’d so sweet,
Was well express’d by the types it bore,
For it pass’d away as fleet.

Tho’ he brought me the Laurel leaf,
That changes but to die,
And the Primrose pale, and Amaranth,
Yet what did it signify ?

For over his vaunted love
Suspicion’s mood had power—
So I put a French Marigold in his hat,
That gaudy and jealous flower.

But his rootless passion shrank,
Like Jonah’s gourd, away,
‘Till the cold Chrysanthemum best reveal’d
The blight of its quick decay.

And he sail’d o’er the faithless sea
To a brighter clime than ours :—
So it faded away, that fickle love,
Like its alphabet of flowers.

In 1848 Mrs. Sigourney was writing in a time when you had to entertain yourself, so people often looked toward their natural surroundings for a little inspiration.

Flowers seem to have been very important at this time. Every flower was imparted with some quality or meaning. The meanings of flowers were well understood, so giving a flower to someone was more than a simple gesture.

For instance, the young man was saddened because she tossed away his forget-me-nots. Doing that was as if she tossed him to the side along with that floral symbol of his admiration and love for her.

He showed his feelings through flowers. He gave her beautiful blooms of rose-geranium, hawthorne, moss-rose and many others to show the depth of his feelings for her. When she did not return his feelings, the young love faded away like a spent blossom.

Forget-me-not, dandelion, wild grape, myrtle, damask rose, everlasting pea, laurel leaf, primrose, amaranth, French marigold, and chrysanthemum were the other flowers mentioned in this poem. What meanings do you assign to any of these?

Come back next Friday for the next installment in our series of flower poems from Mrs. Sigourney’s The Voice of Flowers, “The Disobedient Pansy”.