Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and in honor of that, on this last day of March, here is “The Legislation of Flowers”, originally published in Blue Fifth Review Magazine.

The Legislation of Flowers
Annette Marie Hyder
Originally published in Blue Fifth Review

If this were an allegory written to illuminate the abuse of women through the symbol
of flowers – if I wanted to show, in a story, the way that the intrinsic and multitudinous
beauty of women is destroyed over and over again in so many ways and in every land
 – then scenes of fields of flowers being wantonly plucked and tossed aside to wither
for no purpose, no reason, would bloom upon this page.
I could fill this page with images of a global flower field being invaded by corsage crazy
pickers raggedly ruining in a rampage of greed for dominion until the petals bled in all
their colors and the page reeked with the perfume of loss.
In asides, I would remind you that flowers are the secret essence of life – the quickening,
the blooming, the ripening and the withering – in more than metaphor.
Flowers attract, brighten, perfume and carry – the seeds of the future within them and
in spreading their petals and allowing the sharp tongue of bee’s exploration/bird’s
exploitation/wind’s dalliance and various other utilizations of their secret language which
is rich in propensity to procreation – they plant the continuation of life firmly with their
Chloris touch.
I could mention that there are forced bulbs – brought to maturity through artificial means
and before their time. I could talk, also, about those hothouse creations manipulated into
colors more vivid and shapes more fantastic than any that can occur in nature (as if those
natural shapes and colors were not wonderful enough). I could tell you about the isolated
life that the gilded lilies live in their rarified atmospheres.
If I wanted to illustrate the way that our culture can shape us – I might record the songs
sung by those cultivated flowers – the shivering song of misery that is beautiful to hear
because the flowers are beautiful and can’t help producing beautiful music with their tulip
throats, their rose lips, their marigold whispers and creamy gardenia sighs – tell you how
the hothouse workers hear the heavy droning of bees loaded with pollen thick with honey
 – making and quivering with the desire to plunge in that song and how the hothouse
workers take that song home with them in their heads – wondering where their humming
of pleasure and the quick use of their mates comes from and reveling in the drive – the
bustle, the alive and thick with satisfied confidence – that honeycombs their minds.
I might pontificate on crystallized edible petals that are used for garnish in gourmand
recipes – with “garnish” being as of little consequence other than to enhance the main
(I don’t have to tell you about the addictiveness of Poppies or the danger of Melicore – or
that Bella Donna is a poison and a cure.)
I might tell you a parable of the three wild flowers – Maidfern, Matronbloom and Wintercrone.
But what I really want you to think about when I am talking about the beauty and utility of
flowers is this: that women are not flowers.
We are not flowers. We are not for your picking, your clumsy vasing attempts in which you
sort order by the studious arrangement of us, we are not to be forced or permutated to
your ends.
We are something better than the lilies of the field, bouquets of symbolism, perfumed nights
and exotic colors, delightful garnish and purposeful receptacle for insect/bird/bee.
True, we are carriers of life, and it is only fitting that we should bear that life – but at/in/under
our own proper season – one of those seasons being “not now,” one of those seasons being
“not at all.” The decision is solely our own – not to be governed as if by some strict
“horticulturist’s” code – not given over to the winds of politics or the rains of propaganda – not
legislated according to a potpourri of misinformation and a misguided desire for one group to
impose their ideas of how woman should be – whether aesthetically or procreatively.
Let there be no legislation of our bodies/our “flowers”/ourselves. We are fecund and we wish
to remain so – but free.
One “flower’s” opinion.

The rustle of wings

I’m not going to blog about the mega-moon we had last night (other than to say that it was worth the twenty year wait!). But here’s a first day of spring poem and a link to a news report on the biggest moon in 20 years.

Annette Marie Hyder
(First day of spring 2011)

Swallows sail the sea of air
in such numbers that they
disturb the gravitational pull
and set a whirlpool in motion
that pulls the moon’s feet giddily closer
like secret pheromones
of irresistible impact —
the “butterfly effect” as seen
in swales of  swallows
carrying spring on their backs.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Illustration by Pauline Bewick

A young nobleman, whose father was a local prince, saw Patrick asleep. He could see by the cut of him that he was a princely person, and so laid some flowers on Patrick’s breast as a tribute. — Irish Tales and Sagas By Ulick O’Connor

Irish —
Annette Marie Hyder

Don’t give me shamrocks and beer
but words that foam
higher than any head
on a good draft beer
hearts that are greener
in their zest and love of life
than all the shamrocks
on all the hills of Ireland
poets that freckle the populace
rowdies who raise
their proverbially red-tempered heads
in defiance on any given day
whether they are really red, blond
brown, black
or other haired.

I think of my dad and that alone makes me
proud to be a daughter of Ireland.

Orphan of an orphan
I am a beer in my hand for you
I raise myself up

as if in toast
I am libation
a drink for the dead.

Forgive me if sometimes
I pour it out upon the stone
upon the stone
upon the stone
and pour it out on thirsty stone

and watch it drain away.

Mom is tech savvy now and I miss her cell phone voicemail innocence

Lucile Ball image: Public Domain

Mom’s messages

I miss the way that my mom used to leave messages on my cell phone voicemail. Accustomed to leaving messages on an answering machine, her messages would go like this:

“Hello? This is
Mother. If you’re there, pick up the phone.”
 (Pause to allow me to pick up the phone.)
“Can you hear me? Hello?
Pick up the phone if you’re there, Annette.”
(Another patient pause to allow me to access the phone.)
” Hello?” Then, in an aside to
Stanley, her husband, “I don’t think she can hear me.”
(Sound of phone call being ended.)

I wish I had saved one of those recordings. So cute!

Spring forward

She called last night and left a flawlessly executed message on my cell phone voicemail reminding me to “spring forward” this weekend. So I’m passing the reminder along.

Beautiful extra hour of sleep, you too will be missed!

Here Be Dragons

A 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben, depicts a dragon associated with
causing earthquakes.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Hic Sunt Dracones (“Here Be Dragons”)
Annette Marie Hyder

So many people —

hundreds shed like tears
and falling drop by drop
into the sea.

I am left wishing for things
to give —
Aqua-Lungs to carry on
under the crushing weight of waves
gills and fins to pass out like life jackets
pearls pulled from the throats of mollusks
to transform into handfuls of wisdom given
to them as they all go
tumbling toward infinity.

Ancient cartographers drew dragons
on their maps
and warned of traveling across treacherous waters
and told of how the waves can call to us
whisper through our songs
curl their lips and show teeth
that gleam.

But what of when water walks/stalks the land
comes and grabs people by the hand
and drags them off and away?

Safe and dry
and the whole Pacific away
here in the USA
I see events on my computer screen
electronically hear the roar of the waves
and feel the stinging spray.

Sorrow is a rising tide
flooding the shore of us all.

Links to news coverage of Japanese earthquake and tsunami:

From The Oregonian:

“Japan earthquake: March 12, 2011

The magnitude 8.9 quake triggered a tsunami which flooded areas along
the coast. The cooling systems of several reactors went off line,
adding another layer of worry to people in Japan and across the world.”

From The Wall Street Journal:

“Quake, Tsunami Slam Japan

Tens of thousands of Self-Defense Forces searched desperately for
survivors in earthquake-ravaged northern Japan on Saturday as rescue and
relief efforts went into full force, even as concerns rose that a
radiation leak may have occurred at a nuclear-power facility in the

Digitaltrends.com reports that Japan is still online.

huliq.com reports on how the USA is facing tsunami fears along its West coast.

Voice of America reports that nuclear reactors are at risk of exploding.

Space.com has NASA satellite photos that show devastation from Japan quake and tsunami.

Oregonlive.com has a photo essay of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. You will see cars posed in balletic poses, ships beached like whales on dry land, flattened houses, a huge dragon of smoke launching into the air and appalling apocalyptic scenes.

My cousin Keith lives in Japan and teaches English and is — not safe and sound, but — safe and heavyhearted.

A Modern Day Persephone

Image Credit: Jasmine Rain Hyder

A Modern Day Persephone

Annette Marie Hyder

I slip my feet into high heels
that strut me through my day
four inches of  stiletto steel
that leave exclamation points
instead of flowers

springing like arrows of desire
everywhere my heel has pressed

like a lover’s kiss to the waiting
ready, wanting, ground…

(As the Greek goddess/personification of spring, wherever Persephone walked flowers sprang up…)

Links of interest:

Persephone was not just the Greek goddess of spring. She was also the Greek goddess of the underworld.
The Myth of Persephone
Also of related interest:
Fertile Feet – Television Tropes & Idioms

Smoke on the air

Annette Marie Hyder

Let the past be
like smoke on the air
just a trace of proof
that there ever was
such a great blaze
between you and me
that set whole forests on fire
set the world on fire too
with flames licking the ceiling of the sky
curling the painted clouds off
and even managing to steam the cold stars
to unusual brilliance.

Let the past dissipate
while it drifts its way backwards
and becomes harder and harder to see.

A few literary quotes on the past:

“Shall we never, never get rid of this Past?”
cried he, keeping up the earnest tone of his preceding conversation.
“It lies upon the Present like a giant’s dead body.”  — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

“What’s gone and what’s past help should be past grief.” — Shakespeare, A Winter’s Tale

Can’t repeat the past?… Why of course you can!”F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Ch. 6

Sunny morning

Annette Marie Hyder

That big beautiful sun
is a hot air balloon
rising over the horizon
and lifting everything up with it
because the world is attached
as its basket
with me in it
along for the ride.

The universe is a sky filled with such hot air balloons. Or, to paraphrase Carl Sagan, ‘A morning filled with 400 billion suns hot air balloons’.