A bouquet is a welcome and beautiful thing, but the beauty is inevitably short-lived.
This delightful mini-anthology, however, is guaranteed never to wither.
Roses, fritillaries, daisies, gentians and the humble ragwort are celebrated here by poets ranging from Mimi Khalvati to William Wordsworth.
We experience their colours and scents in vivid language, so each lives on the page with all the intensity of a real flower. Sometimes it seems we can even learn from them; lilacs growing in an urban street know as much about love as we do:
“Lilac, like love, makes no distinction.
It will open for anyone.
Even before love knows that it is love
lilac knows it must blossom.”
from ‘City Lilacs’ by Helen Dunmore
This is one of the lovely mysteries of these poems – that a flower can somehow be like us and shed light on our own hopes and joys.
Poems by John Clare, Beth Davies, Helen Dunmore, John Heath-Stubbs, Seán Hewitt, Mimi Khalvati, DH Lawrence, Anne Ridler, Edward Thomas and William Wordsworth.
Cover illustration by Angie Lewin