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The Deadly Iris ~ a Satirical Poem

John is a freelance writer, ghostwriter, storyteller, and poet. He always tries to include a message or social commentary in his writing

An Obvious Play on Words

This poem The Deadly Iris is just an idea that popped into my head amid the bombardment of news headlines, articles, and conversation concerning the coronavirus COVID-19 or the deadly virus.

Once this play on words embedded itself in my brain I just couldn't get rid of it, and the only way to do that was to write a poem about it. It's silly I know, but if you can't laugh at life then what's the point?

Sometimes I write a poem that I think is too short to publish here on its own, so save it until I have a request that suits, and then use it in Poems From the Porch. This time I thought, nah just publish it as is. I read a stand-alone, three-line haiku type poem on Letterpile the other day, so obviously, word count makes no difference to an item being moved there. I hope you enjoy The Deadly Iris (apologies to anyone named Iris who may read this.)

Image by eklektik2xs from Pixabay

Image by eklektik2xs from Pixabay

The Deadly Iris

There’s a deadly iris in the garden,

Other flowers all cower in fear.

They wish they could be far away

But they’re planted far too near.


The iris, it is spreading,

New stems soon raise their heads,

Then the purple flowers open

And the daisies stare in dread.


Sunflowers turn their heads away,

They’d rather face the sun,

And avoid the deadly iris

That’s a threat to everyone.


Who introduced the iris?

Did it come from foreign lands

To spread a pandemic of fear

Among our native plants?

Irises: Image by Иван Коноплёв from Pixabay

Irises: Image by Иван Коноплёв from Pixabay

Vincent Van Gogh's Irises

Vincent Van Gogh will always be one of my favourite artists. I especially love this painting of his Irises and actually have a framed print of it on my living room wall. The following short video is a brief but wonderful insight into Van Gogh and the painting. Please take the time to watch. Thank you.

© 2020 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 11, 2020:

Thank you for reading any. Yes irises are beautiful, even if they are poisonous. Van Gogh was the best.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 11, 2020:

I love irises. I never knew they are poisonous and like you, the painting of Van Gogh also enthralls me.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Yes, Shauna. It has been moved. I thought it would just be a matter of time. Lucky I saw your comment and a couple of others appear on my feed so I was able to reply that way.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 09, 2020:

Dammit! This beautiful piece has fallen into the abyss! No more comments unless you're an HP writer and go thru the back door. Arrggghhhhh!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Yes, it sure happens to me a lot. I also have to often stop what I am doing and grab a pen to write down an idea or thought. After writing this poem I found out that the iris really is poisonous (Through my readers) so that made it all the more profound.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Thank you for reading this poem and for your generous comment, Shafqat. I do hope my poetry proves helpful.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on October 09, 2020:

John,

Your brain did quite well on this one. I love the iris as a symbolism.

It is something isn't it? Once we write it down it releases from our brain.

Happens to me alot...i have to get up & jot a few words down or there is no sleep.

Shafqat M from Srinagar, Kashmir on October 09, 2020:

For a non-native, aspiring poet in English language, your poetic diction is enviable. Looking forward to learning great things from you, sir!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Rinita, thank you for your kind words. Van Gogh Is a favourite and was sure to be included in anything concerning irises. I am glad you enjoyed the poem and it’s meaning as well.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Yes Van Gogh was great Chrish. Thank you for reading.

Rinita Sen on October 09, 2020:

Ah! Van Gogh! Ah! Your lovely poem. True treat that one. I didn't know the iris can be deadly. I had to look it up. The satire was clear for these times, and tactfully done. As usual you excel my friend.

Chrish Canosa from Manila Philippines on October 09, 2020:

First of all

A bunge of thanks for introducing the great

Vincent Willem van Gogh !!!! He is an awesome post impressionist painter

Also his life story is very interesting! And his obsession with yellow Sunflower, his quotes is even more interesting!!! Anyway Awesome metaphoric thoughts as always! Again thank you for introducing the Great van Gogh!!!!!! Have an awesome day

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Hi Mark. I appreciate that comment. Thanks for reading.

Mark Tulin from Ventura, California on October 09, 2020:

Love this poem, John. A striking metaphor to what’s happening today.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Thank you so much Anupam. Always good to see you.

Anupam Mitu from MUMBAI on October 09, 2020:

Beautifully composed John. We can get the symbol of Iris very well.

Take care

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 09, 2020:

Thank you, Devika. I am glad you liked the descriptions.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 09, 2020:

Hi John like your idea of the Iris and painting comparisions. Beautiful descriptions!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Tiyasha, thank you for the generous comment. Van Gogh was a wonderful artist.

Tiyasha Maitra from Gurgaon on October 08, 2020:

Beautiful John. You have captured the magnanimity of the flowers' character so well. And pairing it with Van Gogh's painting is a brilliant idea. I too am an ardent fan of Van Gogh.

Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed it thoroughly.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Well, thank you for sharing that MizB. I have never heard that the iris is poisonous but if a goat wouldn't eat it they must be. Goats will eat almost anything.

Glad this poem brought back those memories.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 08, 2020:

Love the poem, John, but you may be closer to the truth than you know. In the early 1990s we got a pet goat we named Sarah, who had the run of our fenced backyard (at another home). Sarah ate all our flowers, including daylilies, privets, a pretty flowering shrub that I don't know its name, roses, weeds, you name it all, but she would not touch the irises. We moved, and the same thing happened. Sarah did not like them or they were poisonous to her or something. So we still have irises from those years. Now when I look at my irises, I will think of you and your poem.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 08, 2020:

OMG, I can't even imagine what that's about, John! Can't wait to read it!

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Sometimes a thought just pops into my head, Shauna, and I start writing with no real plan. It is fun to see where my muse leads. I also have another title to work on: 'The Lesser of Two Elvis' haha. Thanks for reading and finding this poem profound.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on October 08, 2020:

John, this poem is so symbolic of what's going on in our world today. The fact that you chose the beautiful iris to state your message is brilliant and eye-opening at the same time. We humans are beautiful in creation, yet have wreaked a profound ugliness that has become pandemic in its own right.

I found the video quite interesting. Unless someone could have actually heard and recorded Van Gogh's thoughts, we'll never have the answer to 'how can someone who creates such beauty be so unhappy?' The mind is complex. People's actions may appear simplistic, but often have complex motivation.

I see why you chose to deem this poem a standalone. It gives the reader time to really absorb the words and form a picture in their minds.

Very profound, my poetic friend. Very profound.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

It is always great to get a comment from you, Farah. I am glad you love the poem. I think word count was once much more of an issue than it is now, but they have always given poetry some lenience.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Chitrangada, thank you for always reading and commenting on my work. I am happy that you enjoyed this.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Prithvitaj, I am glad you enjoyed this. Your generous comment is most welcome.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Thank you so much for reading this, Anya.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Thank you for reading, Peg. Glad I managed to capture the feeling of ‘fear.’ Your generous comment is much appreciated.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Anita, I am happy that you enjoyed this poem, photos and the video. Oh, and my commentary as well. Have a good day.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Yes, Linda, the fragrance is delightful, and I can see how it could easily be someone’s favourite flower. Maybe I need to send you a tuner (Oris root). Letterpile...hmm, let’s see.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Thanks for reading this, Rosina. We have to try to look at the current situation light-heartedly or from different perspectives. I am glad you enjoyed the poem.

Farah N Huq from Dhaka, Bangladesh on October 08, 2020:

Love it! I wasn't even aware of the word count issue. Haha This is a lovely read the way it is.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 08, 2020:

A refreshing and thoughtful poem, during these difficult times.

I liked your introduction and reference to Vincent Van Gogh.

Thanks for sharing another wonderful, creative piece of work.

Prithviraj Shirole from India on October 08, 2020:

Wow! Incredible connection between the present situation and the iris.

Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on October 08, 2020:

Lovely poem!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 08, 2020:

Your poem contrasted iris plants and the current "pandemic of fear" beautifully. Thanks for including the two-minute masterpiece video at the end.

Ankita B on October 08, 2020:

Wonderful poem. I loved how cleverly you have compared the present situation with the iris and the native plants. I enjoyed the photos as well as the video.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on October 08, 2020:

I love the fragrance of bearded iris (have you ever smelled them?) The iris was my late sister's favorite flower. Her's were stunning; I can't get mine to bloom. Perhaps I need a tuber from your garden. A lovely poem worthy of Letterpile, but let's hope HP doesn't move this too quickly.

Rosina S Khan on October 08, 2020:

Thank you, John, for this poem. I like the comparison you made of the Iris with Coronavirus. It may look simple but there's talent in it. I loved a lot reading it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Thank you Kalpana. It is always good to make a reader smile. What more could I ask for?

Kalpana Iyer from India on October 08, 2020:

I'm glad you published this one. It made me smile! Simple and effective.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Thanks Bill, I think Van Gogh’s works will live forever. It is a pity he Was so troubled and didn’t have more success when alive. I guess that is the case with many artists and writers though.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Lorna, your comment are always welcome and so encouraging. I hate that our work is now whisked away before many can comment. Hopefully they sort that out soon or there may be a revolt.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Pamela, I appreciate your comment. Yes, I love irises too and we have them growing in the front garden.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 08, 2020:

Very clever my friend! I love how your brain works. I, too, am a huge fan of Van Gogh! May his works live forever for all to appreciate. True genius does not come along often.

Lorna Lamon on October 08, 2020:

Just rushing to comment before this little beauty is whisked away. I loved the comparison in this cleverly worded poem John and Van Gogh has always been a favourite of mine. His wonderful paintings tell their own story, much like your poem.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on October 08, 2020:

The video is really beautiful and I enjoyed it. This is a lovely poem as well and very clever considering what has happened with the COVID virus.

I actually love iris and we don't get them where I live now but I grew up seeing them.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Eric, yes we have a garden of irises in front of the house, and they have all started flowering in the last week. It is simply beautiful, and they aren't deadly at all.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 08, 2020:

Thanks for the Iris. Funny I suppose to say that as it plays on words not to be thankful for at all.

I love that painting. I helped my mom with a large garden of Iris. Treating the bulbs just right was an art.

I like the other flower's reaction to the Iris.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Liz. Glad you liked the parallels and found the poem witty. I had to include that video too.

Liz Westwood from UK on October 08, 2020:

I like the parallels you make between our current pandemic state of life and the natural world. This is a clever and witty poem. I enjoyed the video too.

John Hansen (author) from Queensland Australia on October 08, 2020:

Hi Ann, Thank you for the wonderful comment. You obviously have similar tastes to me in regard to art. Yes, it seems there is no set word count for poetry which is good. I love to read those words, "This brightened up my day." Have a good one.

Ann Carr from SW England on October 08, 2020:

Great poem, John, which summed up well the feeling that Covid-19 gives us.

Interesting video too. I hadn't realised this painting was so indicative of his mood and stage of life. My favourite artists are Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne, so this suited me down to the ground (literally!).

I don't think the word count applies to poetry at all, as I've noticed many which have been accepted regardless of word count, and quite right too!

This brightened up my day (which was fine, but now it's even better!).

Ann