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January 24, 2014

Poetry Friday--"The Music of a Hyacinth"

I love the smell and color of hyacinths! Most winters, if I've remembered to purchase bulbs in the fall, I force a hyacinth or two to get me through.

Click on the image to enlarge for easier reading. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

Here's the text alone:
The Music of a Hyacinth

In winter months we force
spring to assuage a
longing for color and scent.
We ask a tunic-wrapped
bulb to perform scales alone.

The orchestration for the
complete vernal symphony
has yet to be arranged, but,
we give our fat lady
plenty of time to practice.

A little bit of explanation: I was working on another poem in the fall and I did a little research on flower bulbs. I found that the crinkly skin around a bulb is called a tunic, and the fleshy inside is called the scales. Is it any wonder how I came up with today's poem?

The bulb I started at Thanksgiving, after nearly two months, only has an inch of growth. This winter is not conducive to forcing bulbs. I keep the thermostat as low as possible and the poor bulb must think it is outdoors! [Did any of you catch the Call the Midwife Christmas special? In it, Sister Monica Joan tried to force hyacinths, with much the same result as I'm having. She came to the conclusion that bulbs will bloom in their own time. I don't think I've mentioned before how much I love that series! If you'd like to watch the Christmas special, click here, but hurry, it's only available until next Tuesday.]

I've written about hyacinths in the past, so if you'd like to read more, click here and here.

Tara at A Teaching Life is hosting the Round-Up today. Stop by and tell her I sent you!


  1. Diane, what a neat bit of research resulting in that tunic-dressed singing hyacinth, right? I have had paperwhites blooming (forced) for a while now. Makes me wonder if hyacinths are different. And, I've never heard of Call The Midwife. Thanks, will check it out!

    1. My hyacinths are incredibly slow this year, I'm certain that it's because of the temperature in my kitchen--downright cold! You will love Call the Midwife. Check out your local public library, they may have the first two seasons on DVD.

  2. Very nice, Diane. Especially love the comparison between the hyacinth and "the fat lady." I participated in a choir back in 2000-- we had a springtime concert and I was very pregnant at the time, well past my due date. I made it through, but the conductor was somewhat concerned. At the time, I reassured him, "it's not over until the fat lady sings." ;)

    1. Ha! Good one, Michelle!

      Diane, I like all of your hyacinth posts :-) Thanks for sharing the links to the old ones, too.

  3. I love how you mixed in the words tunic and scales, mixing in a musical metaphor.

    1. Thanks, Margaret. It was totally a result of research!

  4. What a rich poem! I hear the hyacinth singing a clear soprano. This may be my favorite poem of yours so far. Love it!

  5. I hope your Fat Lady bursts into song soon, Diane. Wonderful poem -- didn't know about tunics and scales.

    I LOVE Call the Midwife! Chummy is my favorite character. :)

  6. I've been watching Call the Midwife, and except for one episode which was pure propaganda, I've loved it, too. However, I've only watched the first two seasons. Are there more? I need to look it up.

    I enjoyed your poem.

  7. There's another season, being shown in the U.K., so it may be a while yet before we get to see it. The Christmas special was a stand-alone.

  8. As I read your poem, I could "smell" hyacinths! Oh, how I love that smell!!