Lilacs in Poetry

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Lilacs in Poetry – 6 May 2006

Our purple lilacs have opened and their perfume fills the air. They remind me of two poems: Walt Whitman’s When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d and Brenda Kay Ledford’s Lilacs. In both of these sensitive poems there is an expression of melancholy brought about by loss – a loss resolved differently by each poet.

Walt Whitman was born May 31, 1819 in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He died 1892. Whitman wrote this poem and O Captain! My Captain! in memory of President Lincoln. His poem When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d is very long, but I will quote Part I here:

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

By Brenda Kay Ledford
Submitted by the Author - 6 Dec 2004

after he moved
she watched the hill
changing seasons

golden garments of fall
barren limbs shivering
beneath sheets of ice

he turned his back
slammed the door
said "Good-bye"

she shed her sackcloth
picked a bouquet of lilacs
and gave God her cares

For poems and stories see:  

"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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