Usually, when I get an elegy, it comes right after news of the death. This one took a while to emerge, and it combines two very homelike metaphors - embroidery and flower gardens - to speak of love and loss.
– an elegy for Michael, son of Suzette Haden Elgin
The time we walked together
is embroidered in my mind,
outlined in thread of gold
on the white linen days
and the black satin nights.
The garden of our memories
is full of flowers
picked out in fine silk ribbons –
baby’s breath for everlasting love,
white heather for protection,
red hyacinth for play,
sunflower for loyalty,
calendula for joy,
yellow poppy for success,
cattleya orchid for mature charm,
dark crimson rose for mourning,
forget-me-not for recollection –
and I am glad
for the time we walked here together.
The place of our parting
at the end of our time together
is a ragged edge
that will remain raw
until the dear tailor Death
comes to sew up the hem of my life.