An Observation

When water from a garden can

with a shower-head sprayer

pours over chrysanthemum blooms,

it doesn’t just run off, but, instead,

bubbles and beads and rolls

around the clustered tiny petals

of white and crimson blossoms,

until it forms perfect droplets

that slide slowly off their ends.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper


A week shy of autumn,

still too warm despite the passing front,

I’ve set out chrysanthemums—

not just my usual gold ones,

but crimson too, and purple.


The reds bring memories

of undergraduate homecoming weeks

in late fall when nights

were growing chill and crisp,

with bonfires, concerts, parties.


The antebellum heart

of my southern campus adorned

with potted ones, white

intermingled with crimson,

the colors of the college.


The other colors recall

a newspaper publisher for whom I worked,

who on any occasion

festive or congratulatory

decreed, “Send a pot of mums!”


Though for some, mums

conjure funerals, and the literary-minded think

of Faulkner’s gothic Emily

or the smell of disappointment

in the story by Lawrence,


for him they were

outward and visible signs of inner joy;

for me they always signal the approach

of bright blue skies and sweater weather,

of October, the month of my birth.


Copyright 2013

T. Allen Culpepper