Daily Archives: May 8, 2019

Distrustful of the Gentian

Vintage Crayon Drawing of Blue Gentian Flowers, 1970's, Unknown
Background Image: Vintage Crayon Drawing of Blue Gentian Flowers, 1970’s, Unknown

Sometimes a poem strikes you ion a way that is probably not the intended reading. For example, I kept reading “fringes” as ‘fingers’, as if she were being beckoned, or even chastised by the flowers for her “perfidy”. I also get the impression that the final two lines are a sort of combined image of her and the flower as each of them will go about their way and, delicate as they may be, will not “fear the snow” because they will come back next year just as resilient.

She begins the poem with the word “Distrustful” and she is referring to these wonderful blue flowers as if they are reminding her, or chiding her, about something she will not reveal. Perhaps the flowers remind her of someone she knew that she hurt and now that relationship has been damaged due to her own fault? Perhaps she told a lie and this is why she uses the word “perfidy”.

And perhaps these flowers are “weary” for the person who they remind her of as much as they are a wearisome reminder of the person she has hurt? The poem ends with storms, in the form of “sleet”, and bad winter weather “snow” so perhaps the whole universe is trying to punish her for the lie she told, but she will remain unrepentant and “will singing go” and “shall not gear the snow” which could be read as the consequences of her actions.

Thus my initial reading of fingers chastising her but her strength to remain resolved might not be so far off base because there is an element of someone who, despite the accusations, will remain steadfast and will continue on. Perhaps then she did not tell a lie which hurt someone, but perhaps she told the truth and that is what hurt them. Perhaps her insistence on braving the bad weather is her being a true friend despite being chided by accusing fingers that point at her and tell her to reform.