Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

Night Blooming Cereus

The Night-Blooming Cereus is a cactus flower that blooms once a year for a single night. I have one in my yard which although it can have as many as four or five blossoms in a season, each beautiful, large white flower lasts only for the night, dying the next morning.


“The Night-Blooming Cereus”  poem by Robert Hayden

And so for nights
we waited, hoping to see
the heavy bud
break into flower.
On its neck-like tube
hooking down from the edge
of the leaf-branch
nearly to the floor,
the bud packed
tight with its miracle swayed
stiffly on breaths
of air, moved
as though impelled
by stirrings within itself.
It repelled as much
as fascinated me
sometimes – snake,
eyeless bird head,
beak that would gape
with grotesque life-squawk.
But you my dear,
conceded less to the bizarre
then to the imminence
of bloom. Yet we agreed
we ought
to celebrate the blossom,
paint ourselves, dance
in honor of
ancient mysteries
when it appeared. Meanwhile
we waited, aware
of rigorous design.
polygraph, I thought
would have shown
(as clearly as it had
 a philodendron’s
fear) tribal sentience
in the cactus, focused
energy of will.
The belling of
tropic perfume – that
not meant for us;
the darkness
cloying with summoning
fragrance. We dropped
trivial tasks
and marveling
beheld at last the achieved
flower. Its moonlight
petals were
still unfolding,
the spike fringe of the outer
perianth recessing
as we watched.
Lunar presence,
foredoomed, already dying,
it charged the room
with plangency
older than human
cries, ancient as prayers
invoking Osiris, Krishna,
We spoke
in whispers when
we spoke
at all…



About joliepetitemaison

"In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away" Shing Xiong. My quest is my passion to find beauty in all things. To remember to try to live in the moment, to really “see” and hopefully to capture the beauty that surrounds us in everyday life. I aspire to transcend traditional ideas and to creatively through my photographs express my own unique point of view.
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One Response to Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral

  1. macmsue says:

    It’s certainly beautiful when it does flower.

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