poetry & tsismis: emily's blog

February 14, 2012

LOVE POEM: Powerful Scent of Sampaguita

Over the years, I have written several poems about the Philippine national flower, the Sampaguita, which is a hardy type of Jasmine/Pikake that I love to watch grow. Here is one poem that I wrote in 2004. Happy Valentine’s Day! 

The Powerful Scent of Sampaguita 

© by Emily P. Lawsin

These petals bloom poems only for you:

They carry the scent of my Lola

Who smuggled their seeds in her suitcase

Four generations ago,

Surviving the waves of the Pacific, 

Packing only what she could carry.

Ignoring the weeping Washington winters,

She planted the sampaguita inside the belly of her hearth

For anak ng bayan — us, children of the land —

With high stakes, but no borders:

Only deep, brown roots of love.


You can choose to desert, out of fear,

Her fragile flowers flickering on the fireplace,

Leaving her, lying dry and dormant in the dark.

You can break her branches until they bleed white,

Kiss the buds of neighboring thorn bushes,

Snip her dead vines that cascade like a bouquet of tears,

Yet sing a spray of songs through summer,

And her heart shaped leaves of fragrance,

Anchored by one leg of bamboo or flying free,

Will still dance, grow, and blossom

Ten times stronger than ever before.

* * *

Friday, August 6, 2004




  1. I grew up in descriptions of the sampaguita from my mother. When I saw it for the first time during my first trip to the Philippines, I smelled it. My heart squeezed itself.

    Comment by lisafactoraborchers — February 14, 2012 @ 9:52 pm | Reply

    • Dear Lisa,
      That happened to me too when I visited the Philippines; it truly is unforgettable. Maraming Salamat/MANY THANKS for your beautiful comment, a poem in itself! 🙂

      Comment by Emily Lawsin — February 15, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Reply

  2. Thank you Emily…We have sampaguita bushes planted on the front of our house in the Philippines. These bushes have been there
    for many years on which my mother used to take good care of them. Now she is gone, these flowers always reminds me of her.
    Every morning I wake up, the first thing I do is open the door and look at them, as if the flowers are greeting me and I just feel it’s
    my mother smiling at me. Everyday I harvest lots of them and offered them at the altar.

    It’s true what you and Lisa said, same feelings whenever I smell these flowers. Thanks for making this poem. I will post it on my Facebook
    Page, ALL ABOUT PAGBILAO, QUEZON, that’s my hometown and at my Blog Page, Mabuhai Tai

    Comment by ridaspicksnfaves — July 12, 2013 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

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