The Care and Keeping of Fragile Things

Thank you for the hibiscus--
gorgeous, like May weekends.
Like you.
Truth is, I’ve had bad luck
keeping hibiscus alive.
But I’ll tackle hibiscus care
anew, tending
each fragile flower,
my gift from you.

Truth is, you were gorgeous
like a hibiscus, or an angel,
but hard to keep alive.
I was unprepared
for how fragile
you were. I read books,
lost sleep, prayed to angels
that you would wake
each morning.
Now, your wild hair flying,
long legs running,
stronger-every-day arms
wrapped around Mama--
Mama’s heart wrapped around yours,
you can be broken still.
You’re fragile, we are fragile,
flowering still.


  1. Oh! So there is hope for the hibiscus, as the child has strength and wildness. I feel balance and growth in this poem, so much more about the narrator than either the flower or the child.

  2. This is just exactly it, Marian - the terror and joy that holds our hearts hostage - they are wild and strong, but life itself is fragile......I especially love the closing lines.......we are fragile, flowering still. A fantastic mothering poem.

  3. What a gorgeous poem of motherhood and life's beauty and fragility all wrapped up in your signature style.

    Simply one of my favourites of yours, Marian.

    1. PS. I've killed more hibiscuses than I care to mention here...

    2. i know, me too!! the PRESSURE. imagine me, waking on Mother's Day to... a potted hibiscus!
      Must. Keep. Alive. Must!

  4. Oh once you know how.. the hibiscuses are easy to keep... the only thing killing them is giving them too much water... maybe it's the same with children.. let them out in the summer.. let them taste the rain, and they thrive... (at least our does)

  5. A very nice analogy on the care and keeping of what it is you love.
    Steve K.

  6. I love the last stanza. The opening and closing are my favorite parts.

  7. Not to rub it in, but hibiscus keep themselves alive in Florida; you could hardly kill them if you tried. Really like your poem though, the fierceness, the fragility.

  8. Truth is, you have described it perfectly. I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day, and good luck with the hibiscus!

  9. love this contrast of life's fragility and creation...beautifully expressed

  10. Lovely poem--having a child is, as I think Obama said, like having your heart stored outside your chest. So terrifying. So wonderful. Really lovely poem--I especially love the morph from the very fraguile to the flying wild hair. K.

    1. that quote is from Elizabeth Stone: "Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."

  11. A mother will always live in a child's memory for ever and ever................................

  12. Yes, we mothers are all about the care of fragile things...beautiful

  13. Really enjoyed the comparison between a fragile flower and a growing child. Very nice write!

  14. This is so wonderful. I enjoyed reading it several times!

  15. being a mom is the ultimate in "care and keeping of fragile things" but it's the best gig I've ever had.

    loved this (and you my dear friend) <3

  16. definitely the best gig ever, even on its worst days. xoxo to you, thanks to all of you.

  17. I kill pot plants, too - thank goodness, I had better luck with both my little 'flowers'. LOL

  18. beautiful, Marian ~

  19. Wlaks the emotional tightrope just so, never slipping over the line and into the net. Lovely piece of work.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!