Peonies at Dusk
by Jane Kenyon
White peonies blooming along the porch
send out light
while the rest of the yard grows dim.
Outrageous flowers as big as human
heads! They’re staggered
by their own luxuriance: I had
to prop them up with stakes and twine.
The moist air intensifies their scent,
and the moon moves around the barn
to find out what it’s coming from.
In the darkening June evening
I draw a blossom near, and bending close
search it as a woman searches
a loved one’s face.
June 9, 2018
Mother stands by the peony bed,
Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals,
And looks for a long time into peony lands,
Where one short instant equals a whole year.
By the Peonies, Czeslaw Miloisz