Flowers & Forebears by VALERIE VOLK

Flowers & Forebears (Pocket Poets, Ginninderra Press, 2014) recognises the power of flowers to trigger memories of significant people in one’s past, and to recall incidents which have left an enduring impression, like my six-year-old smacked legs after I had pulled all the buds from my mother’s prized agapanthus plants, or the summer mornings when as children we followed my father’s directions to bag the heads of the marigold flowers for seed for next year’s planting.  

This little book is for all those who have ever smelled a particular flower perfume or seen a special flower, and thought “That reminds me of ...”
These are my memories


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Flowers & Forebears Poetry

Flower Power 

Let no one tell you
that the slow and secret growth,
the burgeoning life of gardens,
is their sole delight.

Instead a key,
unlocking doors of memory
to childhood days and other places.  

The delicate softness of the rose,
the golden flash of sunflowers,
the heavy scent of jasmine in the air ...
And suddenly I am again a child,
drifting in the fields of reminiscence.

My forebears stand and welcome me
into the worlds that I have known.
Gladly I re-enter.


(from Out of Due Season)

One jacaranda flower –
early, out of season –
poignant reminder of the days that were –
foreshadowing with such certainty  
a time to come.


(from My parents’ garden)

I recollect the year
my father brought home Peace.
Eponymous – that post-war flower.
Planted lovingly, tended with such care,
hey watched it grow and flower.
They stood admiring every bloom: each creamy heart, its delicate flush,
the petal edges crimson-pink.
My mother’s work-roughed hands
poised tremulously on the velvet  
of the graceful curve of petals.


(from Wattle)  

Then springtime, and the glory
of the wattles in the drive.
Each ball a golden sphere,
trapped sunshine, small perfections.
They grew. They flourished. 


(From Microcosm)

In orchards where we walk 
in freshness of the pre-dawn,
when skies are stretched in that washed grey
which hangs across the earth like tented sheets,
one finds the loquat tree 
with treasure guarded from the plunderer.

Then as that other golden ball
assaults our eyes while gazing at horizons,
we know again that in each life 
one finds the perfect moment 
for all things.