A single tiny plant I step over, going from the back door to the greenhouse. A single tiny heartsease growing from a pocket of rough soil on the rock face. “now purple with love’s wound”, a love charm, the lines of its face a way to read one’s fortune.

This morning I would read its face for solace as children are buried in Texas, as Russian shells flatten Maryinka, Mykilske, Poltavka and Orikhiv.

Wild Pansy. Love-Lies-Bleeding. Love-in-Idleness. Live-in-Idleness. Loving Idol. Love Idol. Cull Me. Cuddle Me. Call-me-to-you. Jack=jump-up-and-kiss-me. Meet-me-in-the-Entry. Kiss-her-in-the-Buttery. Three-Faces-under-a-Hood.

“There’s pansies, that’s for thoughts.” My thoughts are dark with bloodshed, horror, a silenced classroom.

And yet. Yet.

Kit-run-in-the-Fields. Pink-o’-the-Eye. Kit-run-about. Godfathers and Godmothers. Stepmother. Herb Trinitatis. Herb Constancy. Pink-eyed-John. Bouncing Bet. Flower o’luce. Bird’s Eye. Bullweed.
Banwort, Banewort. Pensée.

“The fairest flower that ever bloomed,
Or garden ever blest,
Looks cold to care, and ne’er was doomed
To ease the heart’s unrest.”

“Stony Heartsease is a base and low plant: the leaves are rounder, and not so much cut about the edges as the others: the branches are weak and feeble, trailing upon the ground: the flowers are likewise of three colours, that is to say, white, blue, and yellow, void of smell. The root perisheth when it hath perfected his seed.”

Houses turned to rubble in Maryinka, Mykilske, Poltavka and Orikhiv , graves in fields of spring grass, children who will never slam the door on their return from school, eager for summer, backpacks dropped on the floor, faces alight with Texas sun.

“THERE is a flower I wish to wear,
But not until first worn by you—
Heartsease—of all earth’s flowers most rare;
Bring it; and bring enough for two.”

And yet it blooms this morning in rocky soil.

(Passages from Shakespeare, Mrs. Grieve, John Clare, Walter Savage Landor.)

2 thoughts on “heartsease”

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