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Tulips for Zoe

April 19, 2017


Tulips for Zoe


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Do you have any tulips today?  Are these perky flowers  left from a centerpiece for your Easter table, or are they reaching through the earth of your garden and growing toward the sky?  Although the Easter Bunny did not bring me a basket of tulips and although I have given up in my attempts to have tulips spring up from my container garden, a writer friend did send me a remarkable poem about tulips on Easter Sunday.  Inspired by this thoughtful gift of a poem and by numerous radio commercials for a bouquet of thirty cut tulips, I dug into my poetic archives; and the following  poem sprang forth for this springtime blog.


When I re-discovered my tulip poem, it was accompanied by a few notes which reminded me of what I was doing when I conceived the idea for this poem and wrote it on September 23, 2012.  On that Sunday, I was walking with my former Leader Dog Zoe (my third guide dog) when, between 4:00 and 4:30 p.m.,  I developed this two-quatrain poem.  Thus, tulips brought me back to another memory of my Zoe–another lasting connection with her–as I think of her with the tenth anniversary of her birth approaching on April 23.


On the next evening in September of 2012, when I was revising the short poem for the final lesson of the Hadley School for the Blind’s course Elements of Poetry(then taught by author Geraldine Lawhorn), I was also awaiting the news of the return home of my nephew from Afghanistan (coincidentally, a country mentioned in my short poem).  How grateful we were and still are that he came home safe and well from his deployment in Afghanistan!


Prior to writing this poem, I had read the absolutely wonderful book Tulipomania:  The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused (copyright 1999), by historian Mike Dash.  I incorporated a bit of the history which I learned from Tulipomania into some of my rhyming lines about tulips.



A Gardener’s Globe


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



First from China, Tibet, Russia, and Afghanistan–

once worth more than a Rembrandt masterpiece,

once food for the empty plates of war-torn Holland,

the globe of the treasured tulip tantalizes my gardener’s valise.


While Autumn’s hand bedecks the land,

my hand digs in the cool, dampened dirt

to plant each bulb—-each precious globe–

that, on Spring’s runway, will fashion into a bright, petaled skirt.



During this third week of National Poetry Month,

I hope you will gaze upon some cheery tulips to brighten your spring day!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


April 19, 2017, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Alice. Although the tulips are still sleeping here in central Maine, I can just imagine how they brighten up those Milwaukee mornings. I have bulbs in a couple spots out in our front yard, but they always patiently wait for the daffodils to trumpet out their May charge. Thanks for a bright and colorful post. dp

    Sent from my wicked smart Windows 10 machine

    • Deon–I enjoyed your metaphor about the Maine daffodils and tulips. I hope you do not have to wait too long for your springtime flowers.

      With many thanks for your “flowery” comment, Alice and Willow

  2. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–Yes, we do have a few early tulips competing with the daffodils and hyacinths, and coincidentally, I also read the book Tulipomania. It is amazing that the frugal and sensible Dutch people would be vulnerable to such a craze. For me, one very good thing about these bulbs is that they faithfully return and multiply year after year. I’ll be remembering Zoe on April 23.–Sue

    • Sue–Thanks for your tulip comments, and thank you for remembering Zoe on April 23.

      Take good care–Alice and Willow

  3. mfanyo permalink

    Dear Alice,
    This lovely poem is a memorable tribute to your beloved Zoe on the celebration of her 10th birthday. The tulips blooming in my gardens are graceful and elegant, just the way Zoe was. I can only imagine how much you miss your wonderful third Leader Dog. I miss Zoe, too, and will think of her as I enjoy my tulips this spring.
    Love, Mary

  4. Alice, thank you for sharing such a lovely poem that reminds you of Zoe. On April 23rd, you’ll be in my thoughts.

    • Abbie–Thanks for commenting and giving my post a “like.” Today (Friday), Willow and I went shopping: I bought two containers of yellow tulips. If the weather is just a little warmer and sunnier tomorrow, I will re-pot the tulips for more remembrances of my Zoe.

      Enjoy the weekend and the final week of National Poetry Month! Alice

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