Poem: The Flowers of Pompeii

The Flowers of Pompeii

There is a temptation to see the ruins first,
grey and massive and everything broken,
the scraps of frescos on the walls
and tiled floors, the mosaics partially intact,
the spectacle of bodies turned to ash,
so well preserved you weep at the realism of their death.

But stay a while. Ignore the guides
and their graphic stories of what was
so effectively, so quickly ended.
The stories of fascinating, titilating even
as you walk through the brothels and baths.
Ignore it all. It’s history,

Stay a while. Walk the streets alone
without someone else to tell you what is important.
Sit on the stone walls and breath in the mountain air.
Let your eye wander and you wlll see them.
The flowers of Pompeii. Yellow and pink survivors
growing in the cracks and sidewalks.

Go one. Walk up close to them.
Breathe in the sweetness. The life in them.
Slightly citrus, a perfume
too often lost in this place of death and circuses.
Stay a while and the story changes.
Suddenly, no one else is telling it. You are,
and there is magic in that. Truth the others miss,
that you are brilliantly alive, rumors to the contrary.

About this poem.

It could be about Pompeii for sure. That’s where the picture was taken. I have a while slew of pictures of flowers growing out of stone in the old city.

It could be about our lives after we have come undone. And what is seen for so long is the undoneness (is that a word? It should be.). Sometimes that is all we see as well. But new life grows in the cracks of our life. Others don’t see it. Sometimes we don’t see it ourselves. But they grow, with a beautiful resilience.



  1. Your thoughts, this morning, touched my heart, as they always find a way to do…….
    Thank you, Tom, for sharing.


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