by Penn Kemp
Purple spikes rampant now. Cliché bounds
garden gnomes. We drink somewhat musty
ginger tea. Second cups await, red roobos
with mint and lemon balm I’ve just plucked.
Magdalene might know this tonic, or others
similar. Her purple turban that paintings so
proudly display as her nearly royal emblem
might bob through the fields as she gathers.
Though she would have servants harvesting,
that fine curved hand not browned by sun.
Her name day conjures presence on waves
of prayer, an iconography of purple and red.
Similars, signature. Like calls to like out
of time. Speaking harmonies. Chords lift.
A decorum wealth bestows, lush richness
suggesting florid abundance, jars of unguent.
She is always depicted wrapped, self-contained
and rapt. Cups of tea cool by her side, steam
rising like plumage, like the coils of her turban.
Twenty-two is the master number in Hebrew,
a vibration that opens time with broad strokes
beyond the moment to more universal scope.
But butterfly bush flowers in her honour now.
Echinacea flourishes, blossom and root, for her
medicinal. Wise woman of herbs, of mystery.
Sing your secret through us, Lady. We are
listening. Then and now. Now and then when
we remember. When your name day reminds.
©Penn Kemp, July 22, 2007