because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

death of a houseplant (Rowdy’s Revenge)

photo courtesy of Josue O. Colop


Beside the chair
of sweatstained red
where I watch the city’s
freckling swelter
on sticky noon
Tuesdays, a lily
lies dying. Nothing
noticeable, mind;
a faint fading into
the badly primed
walls; a slow
yellow march
into composted
tomorrows. Wilted,
ailurophilic leaves
pulled floorward
by a gravity that could
kill us all. A lily lies
dying, and no amount
of hydrostatic
pressure-infused dew-
drawn drippings
can save it nor sweet
lullaby reverse the
slow spiral
down. A lily
lies dying; a lone brave
blossom lifts its
lily-head above the decay,
perches birdlike
poised for bloom,
an unfurling of pale
trumpets some unknown
dawn from now,
a defiant farewell.

21 responses

  1. badseedblackheart

    I love this, especially since there is a picture of a cat above. For cats are the destroyers of all houseplants in my home!

    July 12, 2011 at 4:07 pm

  2. ha…i am wondering too what the cat did to it…mine does as well…oh th gravity that weighs us so….

    July 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  3. go, rowdy!

    July 12, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    • lol don’t encourage him!

      July 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  4. This is so fabulous! I am sure that Rowdy is sad right now. I’m simply amazed at the environment that is painted.

    July 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    • I don’t think sad is in his emotional repertoire. thanks, Carl, for your very kind words.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:26 pm

  5. I love the immediate mood, the sticky summer heat of this piece. The plight of the lily! Good work.

    July 13, 2011 at 3:12 am

  6. uh oh… i take it that the cat had something to do with this mayhem?

    your poetry is breathtaking, as usual. fave line here:

    “where I watch the city’s
    freckling swelter
    on sticky noon

    and i like the way that you ended with defiant hope:

    “poised for bloom,
    an unfurling of pale
    trumpets some unknown
    dawn from now,”

    July 13, 2011 at 10:17 am

    • how did you guess? 😉 thanks for your thoughtful comments, leslie.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

  7. the repetition of that one line really added effect to the poem.. drilling the point across!
    The poem, as I see it, was packed with some awesome metaphors too…

    Really well written!

    July 13, 2011 at 5:11 pm

  8. Nice one shot!

    July 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm

  9. So, it isn’t anthropomorphic, but as soon as I get some time, I will figure out the right word for this poem. Reads like you were fighting yourself in your head but the constant laser-like focus on death & assorted connected imagery makes me think the battle is already over. Loved the language, despite the extra work involved. Felt well placed, in that your polysyllabic method adds to rather than detracts from the image as a whole. Sorry I have been a ghost for a while… left facebook as it is simply too distracting, so drop me a line & let me know the next time you’re reading. Been too long, and we never did get that drink. B says aloha as well. Take care,


    July 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    • battle over, indeed. and it was the polysyllables as inspired the piece, fittingly. email comin your way, and my best to the both of yous.

      July 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm

  10. on Rowdy’s behalf, I’d like to say thanks, everyone, for your support. Contriteness was never his strong point, you know. Nor modesty.


    July 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

  11. I love your cat, he’s gorgeous! Not so good with plants but oh how lovely. A great poem too, such a well crafted piece.

    July 14, 2011 at 6:09 pm

  12. Leo

    Oh well, guess Rowdy was on a roll 😀 Go cat! Try to leave some of the flowers though 🙂

    July 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

  13. Very well said… and the imagery that you have created is so perfect… I loved your lines…
    ‘A lily
    lies dying; a lone brave
    blossom lifts its
    lily-head above the decay,’
    A reality painted in words… thanks for sharing…

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

    July 16, 2011 at 12:34 am

  14. Leo, pandamonium, will pass your compliments on to Rowdy. 🙂 Shashi– I thank you.

    July 18, 2011 at 10:00 am

  15. What a lovely tribute to a houseplant, and also very rich metaphorically. I love a slow dying that ends in hopeful birth. The cycle continues…

    July 18, 2011 at 3:45 pm

  16. Don’t pick on the cat, guys. A deer ate my Christmas cactus the other day!

    Rowdy, this was touching. So much to say about this simple demise. The color palette reminded me of Rembrandt. And I’m with Belinda – the death into birth is indeed life’s cycle. You gifted us with this poem. Much appreciated! Amy Barlow Liberatore

    July 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm

  17. Anonymous

    That was a really good one!

    July 28, 2011 at 12:34 am


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