She was not the first but she left a very lasting impression on me. I have never forgotten her. Through the years, I have often yearned for her, yearned for her fragrance, yearned for a touch of her silky smoothness. She had always been on my mind. There were others but none could enthral me like she did.
I have often talked about her to Wuan – of how I missed her, of how I would like to see her again, of how I would like to bathe in her heady scent. Wuan understood. She looked and she searched. Her efforts were not in vain.
“I found her,” Wuan coolly told me one morning after coming back from the market. Still, there were tinges of excitement in her voice and I could sense that she shared the thrill I felt.
All my life, I only knew her as Hum Siu Fa (å«ç¬‘èŠ±), Cantonese for smiling flower. It was an odd name because there never was a hint of a smile on her although she never failed to leave a smile on my face during our encounters. I was glad the search had finally ended.
Hum siu fa, her scientific name Michelia Figo, is of the Magnolia family. Among others, the fragrant yellow cempaka and white cempaka are also of the Magnolia genus. The michelia figo is also known as the banana shrub for its sweet fragrance like that of a banana.
Now, there is one hum siu fa tree that stands prominent in Wuan’s garden. She found her all right. And this little tree is blooming. I could almost smell its sweet bouquet when I went through the images that Wuan captured and sent to me.
The poem Magnolia Dreams was written in 2003. It is dedicated to the two most wonderful women in my life – Mum and Wuan. They had gladly indulged my request to cultivate the michelia figo simply because I loved the sight and smell of this tree. Every time thoughts of this flower crossed my mind, I would think of these two women who had brought so much joy into my life and I would invariably smile. Smiling flower – a truly befitting name.
Photo by Wuan.
The mere thought of you
Youthful is your foliage
Your gentle demeanour
Photo by Wuan.
Timeless is your beauty
Petals of soft creamy pearl
Wisps of your fragrance
Magnolia figo in full bloom.
Photo by Wuan.
Angels descend from high above
Against the elements you persevere
Radiating an aura of perfect bliss
26 January, 2003.
5 thoughts on “Smiling Flower”
beautiful poem, made all the more wonderful by the women it was written for.
Really nice poem, Peter.
This is my first conversation with you — thanks for wonderful poem.
I’m sure the two lovely ladies behind the inspiration would smile on smile and ehave a guardian angel watch over thee.
I’m also a poet enthusiast, faeured some in my relatively new blog, desiderata2000.blogspot.com — I bid hope you and readers of your blog, Welcome.
Welcome to the club. I am sure you will find that blogging can be a fulfilling activity. Have fun.
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