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Poetic Life Themes: Lilacs

“The Lingering Scent of Eternal Junes” appears in Where Dreams Abide.

Whenever I think of lilacs, I think about the story my father told me that is depicted in my poem “The Lingering Scent of Eternal Junes.” Lilacs rarely bloom as early as April where I live, unlike T. S. Eliot’s home state of Missouri. (I lived in Missouri during my childhood, but it would never feel like home. More akin to my own waste land. But, this is a poetic life theme for another time.) Lilacs are one of my favorite flowers, and we tend to see them bloom at the end of May and early June. Because of my father’s story and because my paternal grandfather was born in June, I titled the poem as I did. I chose this poem for this post because of the quotation from yesterday and how it leads into Eliot’s mention of this particular flower.

I considered other selections of mine that focus on April and Easter, which this year is on April 4. (Perhaps more of those in future posts for this month.) Yet, this poem also reflects these redemptive themes. I wrote the poem several years before its 2015 publication. But, I have no doubt that I included certain aspects of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (which we commemorate on today, Good Friday) and His resurrection to mirror the grace of His salvation. I will let my readers search those out as they read the poem.

I do want to be clear about what makes this poem meaningful for me. I did not know my paternal grandfather well because he passed away when I was five. This story, however, reveals to me what my own father reflected back to me after my own unintentional mistakes as I was growing up. It is what I hope I extend to my children and will someday continue to share with my grandchildren:

Preventable conflict requires accepting of personal blame and disciplinary consequences. Unintentional mistakes require correction with grace.

April may seem like the cruellest month for its latent snowstorms and pouring rains. But, it is also a month of anticipating the hope of rebirth and renewal. Above all, it is a season to remember that showers of blessing refresh and revive in the soil of our souls after life’s deepest regrets.

Categories: Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

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