» Poetry

Salvaging Beauty

(for Alan)


Peonies are blooming

to the point of collapse.

They lean into each other

with nothing to say.

Gracing lawn and stones,

thousands of fragrant petals,

extravagant as wings



To make final bouquets, I take

every flower that does not dissolve

at touch—late blooms, buds

surrounding first display—

pinks, bold and blushed;

shameless yellow;

white, center-stained

with crimson.


Every vase chipped

or cracked I fill;

vases on every table

in the house. I leave

the lawn scattered

with petals and stems.

I wait for the scent

of this dying




Scudder Parker

Scudder Parker grew up on a family farm in North Danville, Vermont.  He’s been a Protestant minister, state senator, utility regulator, candidate for governor, consultant on energy efficiency and renewable energy, and is settling into his ongoing work as a poet. He’s a passionate gardener and proud grandfather of four.  He and his wife, Susan, live in Middlesex, Vermont.  Parker  has published in Sun Magazine, Vermont Life, Northern Woodlands, Wordrunner, Passager, Eclectica, Twyckenham, Crosswinds, Ponder Review, and La Presa.