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



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