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Poem: The Rainbow Queens

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The Birds of Paradise

For the longest time, I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that there's a California plant that's called a bird, Birds of Paradise. But eventually I got it, and I understood why they were called Birds of Paradise. It seems that everywhere they are it's a paradise of beauty. The plants grow in tropical climates, and they reflect their picturesque and sunny surroundings. Some Birds of Paradise are all white, while others are white, orange, yellow and with a hint of bluish purple. They pop out of the green succulent gardens. They often extend into the middle of the sidewalk where they seem to greet you. Besides the crows getting my attention every morning in California, the Birds of Paradise seem to say hello like they are human, and I often acknowledge them back with a smile. Here's my tribute to these magnificent perennials with a poem.

Poem: The Rainbow Queens

I walk along De La Vina Street

Under the warm California sun

And there the queens are:

Extraordinary

Rainbow birds in paradise

Extending onto the sidewalk

To greet me, it seems,

Only me.


I want to stop and kneel.

I want to hug your plumes.

But I pull back.

Queens are never touched.

They are to be admired from afar.


I walk along De La Vina Street

Past my favorite pizza shop,

Past the dentist

That does my root canals.

There are more,

More colorful queens,

White, yellow and orange

Among the tall, spiraling palms,

Among the succulents

That decorate people's homes.


I take out the camera phone

And click their pictures.

They pose for me.

They speak in tongues.

They spring from

Fountains of hope,

Nourished by underground wells.

Spirits that grow with tolerance,

Plants that spread forgiveness

And goodwill.


I walk down De La Vina Street

In the music of the day,

Under the California sun.

The Rainbow Queens.

The tropicals of love.

They seem to speak to me.

Mark Tulin reads The Rainbow Queens.

© 2018 Mark Tulin

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