It was on the wall in my mother’s bedroom, a poem written by her grandmother. I loved it as a child, even though I possessed only a superficial understanding of it at the time.
My great-grandmother was a gardener and a writer; I’d like to think we’d get along famously, as kindred spirits. I wonder if she had any idea what the words she put down on paper those years ago would mean to me.
The hot house flowers are beauties,
They have grown without a pain.
Somehow I’d like to set them out
And let them feel the rain.
With just a dash of wind in it,
Though t’would break a leaf or two.
I know they’d smell much sweeter
If they felt a Summer’s dew.
My daughter is a darling,
And of culture has her share,
But I hope some day to see her
Grieved enough to she’d a tear
For something she can never help
No matter how she tries.
T’would steal some joy, but deeper thoughts
Would peep from out her eyes.
I never got a chance to raise a hot house flower. I couldn’t have sheltered my children, because the storm came right into their home.
And when the winds raged and the storms came again and again, my hope against hope was in my great-grandmother’s words. That my one and only truly typical child would some day have those deeper thoughts peep from out her eyes. That building her strength in the storm would bring resilience and splendor that cannot be gained in any other fashion.
And I pushed back the fear that the torrent would destroy her.
She has had more than her share of joy stolen, but she is reaping the deeper thoughts. They aren’t always pleasant, and sometimes downright frightening, but they’re hard earned and stunning to behold.