Image by Crispin Hughes

The Florist's at Midnight

Sarah Maguire


The Florist's at Midnight

Sarah Maguire


The Florist's at Midnight

The Florist's at Midnight

Stems bleed into water
loosening their sugars
into the dark,

clouding dank water
stood in zinc buckets
at the back of the shop.

All night the chill air
is humid with breath.
Pools of it mist

from the dark mouths
of blooms,
from the agape

of the last arum lily -
as a snow-white wax shawl
curls round its throat

cloaking the slim yellow tongue,
with its promise of pollen,
solitary, alert.

Packed buckets
of tulips, of lilies, of dahlias
spill down from tiered shelving

nailed to the wall.
Lifted at dawn,
torn up from their roots

then cloistered in cellophane,
they are cargoed across continents
to fade far from home.

How still they are
now everyone has gone,
rain printing the tarmac

the streetlights
in pieces
on the floor.


'The Florist's at Midnight' from The Florist's at Midnight (Jonathan Cape, 2001), © Sarah Maguire 2001, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

Sarah Maguire Reading from Her Poems

1Vigil

2Almost the Equinox

3Cow Parsley, Bluebells

4The Grass Church at Dilston Grove

5The Fracture Clinic

6The Invisible Mender

7My Father's Piano

8The Hearing Cure

9Tidemarks

10Traveling Northward

11May Day, 1986

12Wolves Are Massing on the Steppes of Kazakhstan

13From Dublin to Ramallah

14Zaata

15The Pomegranates of Kandahar

16The Florist's at Midnight

17The Mist Bench 18Year-Round Chrysanthemums

19My Grafting Knife

20The Tree Bank at Ten

21Cotton Boll

22Europe

23Mahbouba Zaidi’s Hands

24Hibiscus

25Damascene

26Cloves and Oranges

27Jasmine in Yemen 28Rosemary

29The Jardin des Plantes

30Proof

31Psoriasis

32Dust

33Spilt Milk