In southern New Hampshire, the annual display of lilacs is almost over. This poem, recently heard on The Writer's Almanac, is an interesting twist on the lilac phenomenon.
by Alice N. Persons
A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor's tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids' arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn't begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.
Much of the lilac season was drenched in rains this year. Happily, I have a large bush right out next to my deck.
Lilacs are New Hampshire's official State Flower.