The persona is moving from a house that she has occupied for five weeks. She has sent her belongings to her future home, but one item remains in her old space, an orchid. The persona clarifies that she was given the orchid as a gift, but implies that it holds no value because the gifting of orchids is habitual for the person who gave her. She describes the flower as odourless, but attractive. She watered the orchid once, expecting it to die, but it survived. It not only survived, but bloomed. The persona contemplates plucking the bloom and pressing it between the pages of a book. The purpose of this is to allow her to appreciate the flower.
Structure of the Poem
The poet’s use of blank verse (lacks rhyming pattern) effectively captures the persona’s struggle between hope and despair as he narrates (tells his life-story) with a tone that similarly and occasionally shifts between feelings of optimism and pessimism, adding to a mood that varies between contemplative serenity and foreboding uncertainty.
Illustrated by the poet’ use of emotive language to describe the aesthetically pleasing orchids–
“purple petals/blossoms … full blown/like polished poems/ This morning the bud … unfurled” juxtaposed against the persona’s destructive intentions–“I watered them once/ I would toss them out/I starved them/I’ll pluck the full-blown blooms/press them”.
Indicative of the persona’s seeming lack of appreciation for the orchids as natural and philosophical emblems of beauty, wisdom and strength.
The orchid is a flower of magnificence that brings a universal message of love, beauty, wisdom, thoughtfulness, luxury, strength, refinement, affection, new growth and development.
“This elegant flower should make you feel pampered. Purple is the colour of royalty. Orchids are generally regarded as symbolic of rare and delicate beauty…. Their graceful appearance draws immediate attention, and their reputation as an exotic and unusual flower evokes a sense of refinement and innocence”.
SIMILE- lines 13-14
The orchid’s full blown blossoms are being compared to a polished poem. The word polished in this comparison implies perfection, shiny and pleasant to read.
PUN- line 11
The purple heart literally refers to the splash of color in the center of the orchid’s bloom, but it could also refer to the bravery of the flower. This is so because a purple heart, in the army, is a medal that a soldier receives for bravery.
Metaphor- lines 1-2
The persona compares her experience over a five week period with boxes that she uses to pack her belongings in.
The mood of the poem is pensive, or thoughtful. The persona is thinking about the lack of value that she places in the orchid.
Tone of the Poem
The tone of the poem is one of almost bored musing.