Fantasia on a Random Sentence from a Language-Learning App

I  hear voices in the garden,

probably those crazy flowers

dispersing their seed at all hours,

thinking not once of mortal sin.

Shakespeare called it spirit’s expense,

though he referred to men, not plants,

but daisies too want into pants,

in a figured way of speaking;

the flora, too, always seeking

to take their part in nature’s dance.


Copyright 2016

T. Allen Culpepper


Flora) the Goddesse of flowres, but indede (as saith Tacitus) a famous harlot, which with the abuse of her body hauing gotten great riches, made the people of Rome her heyre: who in remembraunce of so great beneficence, appointed a yearely feste for the memoriall of her, calling her, not as she was, nor as some doe think, Andronica, but Flora: making her the Goddesse of all floures, and doing yerely to her solemne sacrifice. –Gloss on the March eclogue from Spenser’s Shepheardes Calender


A humble goddess, Flora,

rooting herself in dirt,

but hardly a modest one,

dressing in gaudy colors,

spreading her petals

for all and sundry,

present at every celebration,

willing even to comfort the sick,

always at the funerals,

though she owns no black.

Her great joy is the springtime,

when fluids begin to circulate,

her heyday the heat of summer

if the heat doesn’t dry up her business;

in the quieter autumn she stays mum,

in winter keeps to her bed.

Some have called her whore and harlot,

but she prefers the gentler courtesan,

dispenser of attainable beauty,

perishable, fleeting, but yet perennial.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper

Herbicide to Some Degree

I confess I killed the blanket flower,

snuffed out its autumnal blossoms

petaled in hues of mustard and rust,

brought from the nursery fully quick

but now dead brown out by the walk.

It was not an act of willful murder,

and yet I acknowledge herbicide

by negligence: I know that it handled

its tangled roots much too roughly,

knew even then I was confining them

in too small a pot, the only one I had,

bigger than the nursery container,

but still, I left them no room to stretch

and thrive, unwilling to make the minor

sacrifice of returning to the store

to pay the higher price for a larger pot

and lug home the heavier clay. And

then I fear I might have overwatered

the poor thing as well. Harboring yet

the faintest hope of its resurrection,

I can’t just throw it heartlessly away,

even knowing that the cause is all

but lost. I regret my careless actions

and wish that I could make amends,

but I know a jury of seasoned gardeners

would find me guilty in two minutes.

Copyright 2015

T. Allen Culpepper