Remembering the past through Geraniums

The smell of Geraniums remind me of school days

happy days; the newness and sureness of days that began and ended with ritual.

They smell of learning;

like the smell of a new jotter,

respected only to the sixth page,

then quietly treated with predictable contempt.

The school is gone

but, it’s smell, like a favourite perfume lingers

somewhere among the senses; or buried,

waiting for ‘mother’ from the now obsolete curriculum to waken

‘Dick and Dora’ from their unnatural slumber!

Geraniums remind me of old people too.

In Saint Teresa’s on the Glen where a youth club stands now,

there were five Geranium pots,

one on each window sill, placed on saucers

to protect the books and cane in the open cupboard below

(painted a pale green/blue it was never locked, the cane was in daily use)

from the over flow that shaking tiny hands had poured with

more enthusiasm than skill,

some teachers’ pets stretched hard to please

while those un-inclined enjoyed with ease, the anonymity

being of a lesser significance in class

to teachers who

counted among their successes, those they marked

by intellect and dresses!

I have my own Geraniums now

and a place for each;

I notice with interest, that the one’s I leave out in the cold

sometimes don’t survive,

(they aren’t expected to, it seems)

though strangely some do; but

even those I keep in the kitchen

need my attention, otherwise they too

won’t survive, and I must take a share of the responsibility

for their lack of growth:

A beauty never encouraged, cultivated or enjoyed

is a great loss to my small world; and to anyone who has the eyes to see and the sense of smell.

Geraniums remind me of old people too.

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