The Friday Poem on 30/09/22
We chose Oliver Comins’ poem ‘Tulipa Ingens’ to be our Friday Poem this week because we enjoy its gentle surrealism, its subtlety, the slow build of the narrative describing this extraordinary occurrence, and the deliciously sensual imagery used to portray the tulips. Comins displays great command of tone here — in places he approaches the comedic, but he never goes too far, and the ending is wistful, almost melancholic. It’s a poem that delivers more every time you read it, and we like it a lot.
Once again, the tulips have been immense this year,
giving the appearance of beanstalks when viewed
through the ground floor windows. From our loft,
on the second floor, you could reach out and touch
their sail-like petals, experience the velveteen texture.
Those deep colours floated outside, day and night,
with pollen smeared onto our windows and walls,
scattered in flaky trails over several nearby gardens.
A genetic fluke of some kind meant these flowers
spent a few weeks competing for light successfully.
An old oak and two tired cedars with high canopies
were okay, but smaller trees waited in shady silence
for the blooms to fade, their limp stems to collapse.
The pith of which they were made was too dense
to cut immediately, but softened after a little time,
when we could hack it into pieces for swift disposal.
We planted the bulbs at recommended intervals,
then they swelled in a most extraordinary manner.
This year, any shrubs and smaller plants remaining
in our garden have been compressed and destroyed,
while pressured soil has been moulded into waves
across the space where lawn was laid and nurtured.
That fence was broken already, a planned removal,
but we miss the delicate herbs, our scented borders.