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  • Christine Delea

Flower Power: Poetry Prompt

Claude McKay writes of Easter flowers in his poem posted on my blog today. The photo I chose to accompany his poem is a Madonna lily.


Although flower "meanings" have been around in all cultures since time began, English Victorians took that symbolism to a new level. Flower code books were very popular, even if they were not all consistent. The term for assigning a language to flowers is floriography, and deciphering a bouquet was a fun way to spend the afternoon with friends. This secret language also took into account the color of the flower, as well as specific type, so while a red rose meant romantic desire, white roses meant innocence, and tea roses meant I'll always remember. Some books even advised how to plant gardens in order to express oneself and others included information on how to decipher what the leaves included in a bouquet meant, including their placement and how they curved. Yes, like many of the things the Victorians got overly involved in, it got very complicated.


Today's prompt asks you to write about one or more flowers and its meaning. There are numerous web sites to help you with this, and I have listed some below. You can write directly about the flower and its meaning, or make that a small and/or unspoken part of your piece. You can look at flowers in regards to the holidays they are associated with. You can . . . well, of course, you can do whatever you like!


Amaryllis: Pride

Basil: I hate you

Chrysanthemum: Optimism

Eucalyptus: Protection

Gooseberry: Anticipation

Honeysuckle: Devotion

Lavender: Distrust

Lotus: Eloquence

Nightshade: Truth

Olive: Peace

Phlox: Our souls are united

Red Dahlia: Dishonesty

Striped carnation: Refusal

Sunflower: Haughtiness

Tulip: Declare your love



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