Zonal PelargoniumsCall them geraniums, everybody does,
these are the ones with round, frilled leaves
marked like targets, creased like fans.
I found them in the bath – easier to water
the house being shut up – and took them home.
When they came into bloom I recognised
the plant that stood in her front porch for years,
two petals balanced above three, on flowers
I would have said that she was like, if asked –
coral, like the lipstick she wore every day.
Next came the Schiaparelli pink
she painted on her door and fingernails,
and on a specimen with leaves the size
of doll’s-house dinner-plates – the pale shell tint
she never knitted for a baby girl.
Dark and bright reds have been the last to flower.
The latest bud to open gave me the shock
of arterial blood – an ordinary scarlet geranium,
the kind that DH Lawrence thought to be
beyond the imagination of God.
poem by Susan Grindley