Blue Irises

For Rosa

Driving round the forest again;
this time with an artist who wants
to illustrate some ‘Wyre’ poems.
I tell him the origin of
the name “Gladderbrook”, my first home.

And how one old, village lady
had once told me she’d gathered
blue irises from the stream side
in the 1900s when she
was a girl no older than you.

Later that week at the station
in York I find myself looking
into your blue eyes and buying
irises from the flower stall
to give to Mummy when she comes.

Their ‘overworne blewish colour’,
as Gerard would have it, quite suits
my mood; the slender green lances
skewer rather than gladden my heart.
You, smiling, see only bright flowers.


From Email from the Provinces