Peter Meinke

A Fable: The Floss-Silk Tree and the Philodendron
August 17, 2011 Meinke Peter

A Fable: The Floss-Silk Tree and the Philodendron


In Brazil they call the floss-silk  palo borracho
“drunken tree”  because each blossom opens
like a provocative dancer at Carnaval

and though the philodendron’s
a low and homely vine  it still winds along
the thorny trunk   toward the swaying flowers
Orpheus straining for Eurydice
its small leaves enlarging alarmingly
like the hearts of wanton gods

For what’s love but recognizing beauty
as a temporary gift and strangling it
against all odds?

Peter Meinkewas the first Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg, and now is Poet Laureate of Florida. He has eight books in the Pitt Poetry Series, the latest being “Lucky Bones” (2014). He’s published two books of short stories, “The Piano Tuner,” which received the 1986 Flannery O’Connor Award; and “The Expert Witness” (2015). A collection of his essays, “To Start With, Feel Fortunate’” received the 2017 William Meredith Award. He and his wife, the artist Jeanne Clark Meinke, have lived in St. Petersburg for over fifty years. His most recent book is “Tasting Like Gravity” (U. of Tampa Press, 2018);