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.
T. Allen Culpepper