Thalictrum and Cimicifuga, Jonathan Galassi

29 Mar

Thalictrum and Cimicifuga, Jonathan Galassi

Thalictrum and Cimicifuga,
married for life:
“I love your filigreed purply curls.”
“I love your pompous white spikes.”

Look at them swaying there out in the wind,
bowed by the nastiest weather:
always reverting to genus
and always together.

This poem references two plant genera: Thalictrum and Cimicifuga, both from the family Ranunculaceae.   Each genus has numerous different species, literally hundreds.

My interpretation: Thalictrum and Cimicifuga enjoy a lasting love because they appreciate the differences between them.  Despite the pressures and challenges they face, when stressed so that their dissimilarities become wide or difficult they step up the ladder from their widest differences (species) and focus on their smallest differences, just below their common denominator/point of similarity/connection (genus).

I would love to hear your interpretation of this poem!.





6 Responses to “Thalictrum and Cimicifuga, Jonathan Galassi”

  1. deborahelliott April 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

    I have neither of these plants in my garden, but the poem makes me want to take another look! I definitely think the poem refers to marriage! I like your interpretation.

  2. New View From Here April 3, 2012 at 10:58 am #

    Well Lisa, I don’t know that anyone can come up with a better interpretation than yours! It’s perfect, and it’s beautiful.

    I think one of the biggest challenges in marriage is to really appreciate each others differences. My wife is amazing at overlooking (and even laughing at) things about me that would probably drive another woman crazy. She’s better to me than I deserve. I think she really has been able to live out the lessons taught by Thalictrum and Cimicifuga,

    I love these lines from the poem:

    “bowed by the nastiest weather:
    always reverting to genus
    and always together.”

    I notice how the nastiest weather is unable to separate them. I think about how “love is a decision” & “love is a commitment” much more than a feeling. (Can you tell I was actually listening at a marriage conference!) The feelings will ebb and flow as a natural part of our lives. Feelings change. But when love is rooted in a decision (in sickness and health) and in a commitment (till death do us part), then we have the ability to “revert to genus” and stand up to any nasty weather we may face!

    • Lisa April 3, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Awww, thanks. Be sure to show your wife the very nice things you said about her! Thanks for your comments on this poem and the anonymous Bee poem printed on a tissue box (of all places!).

  3. Pamela Hubbard April 1, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Dear Lisa, Great interpretation! I love the common name for Cimicifuga — ‘bedbug repeller’. Pam’s English Garden. x

    • Lisa April 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      Thank you! And thanks for the interesting fact.

  4. Garden Walk Garden Talk March 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    I like your interpretation. Seems very fitting.

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