In Olivia Rosane’s enchanting and evocative rites-of-passage poem, ‘Maiden’s Tears’, a young woman realises her own inner power and strength when encountering a small wildflower in an open field.
Beyond the beaver pond
where the trees thin
and my father warned me not to go alone
because the rowdies come to shoot their guns
and shed their bright shell casings,
in the dust, amongst the weeds,
you lured me
with your pale, oval bodies
swaying on thin stems.
The color of pink flesh turned green
for want of love, or blood.
And your small white petals
reaching outward from your downturned mouths
with animal intelligence
like the tentacles of sea anemones
or the rays on the snout
of a Star-nosed mole.
I wanted to look closer
but I feared that you might sniff me out
for going where I should not go
and sting me backwards
away from you.
I had to know your name.
Too delicate; too tame.
Then, I remembered,
nothing was more wild
than the first time
I began to sob
not knowing why.
Only knowing that my body
had dragged me in its growth
farther down the path
than I was prepared to go.
And, from now on,
all would be strange
and nothing comfortable.
But, in the silence after,
I found beauty
as if the tears had carved a canyon.
Deep inside me was a vastness
I had not held before.
About Olivia Rosane
Olivia Rosane is a poet, freelance writer, and PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Her non-fiction has appeared in EcoWatch, YES! Magazine, and Real Life Mag and her poetry has appeared in epilogue. She also attempts to make sense of the ongoing humanitarian and ecological crisis at (Un)NaturePoems.com
About Sara Rivers
Sara Rivers is an artist who works in different media. She completed her foundation diploma at Brighton School of Art and her BA in Fine Art at Canterbury School of Art. She has also studied Art Therapy at St Albans School of Art, Hertfordshire. Sara founded the Creativity Centre, a space for outsider artists and those recovering from mental ill health, at Isledon Road (formerly Corsica Street), London. She is a founder member of the Otherside Gallery, and has created three short films, all of which were funded by the NHS. Sara is passionate about improving the services available to people experiencing mental ill health, and has led many campaigns against the continued cuts to day services in the borough of Islington. Sara is the current artist for Lucy Writers, and has designed all the artwork for the website to date. To view more of Sara’s work follow her new Instagram account @pixbysararivers and see her profile on Outside In.
‘Maiden’s Tears’ was written for the series Flora & Fauna of Foreign Places, which was conceived and edited by Usha Akella for Lucy Writers.
Flora and fauna define our cultural sensibility; what trees and flowers we grew up with signifies ‘home.’ Transplant an individual to a foreign environment with strange trees and flowers, he or she is likely to feel ‘foreign’. Flowers are culturally specific in symbolism expressed in social events like weddings and funerals.
As a recent graduate of a Creative Writing MSt living in America, Usha noticed that in addition to the gift of knowledge and friendships, her journeys to the UK sparked an interest in flora. For the first time, she noticed a passion to want to know the names of flowers and trees. Somewhere along the way between the limes of Trinity College and the walnut maple of Madingley Hall; between the splendid gardens of Rydal Mount and rolling vales of Cumbria, she had been infected with a green-eye. When she walks in her Austin neighbourhood, she is now incited to know the names of the wildflowers and trees that she took for granted visually. And she notices, how this new world seeps into her writing gradually.
Right now, the early bloom of summer is upon most countries. So, it seems perfect to celebrate flowers, plants and trees as a theme for the poetry issue. In the next few weeks, Usha will be publishing poems by writers from around the world that explore, reflect on and appreciate the flora and fauna of foreign places, and what they mean to them.