It seems that lilac theft is actually a thing. When asked whether or not it’s okay to help yourself to a few blooms, responses to this “floral” dilemma range from indifference to infuriation, with the general consensus being that if the tree has abundant blossoms that are spilling over a fence, then it’s fair game to take a few sprays. If you’ve already been at it this year, hopefully today’s poem will assuage any guilt you may be feeling.
A guaranteed miracle,
it happens for two weeks each May,
this bounty of riches
where McMansion, trailer,
the humblest driveway
burst with color—pale lavender,
purple, darker plum—
and glorious scent.
This morning a battered station wagon
drew up on my street
and a very fat woman got out
and starting tearing branches
from my neighbor’s tall old lilac—
grabbing, snapping stems, heaving
armloads of purple sprays
into her beater.
A tangle of kids’ arms and legs
writhed in the car.
I almost opened the screen door
to say something,
but couldn’t begrudge her theft,
or the impulse
to steal such beauty.
Just this once,
there is enough for everyone.
Is is okay to help yourself to your neighbors’ lilacs? I’ll admit to stealing my share over the years. What’s your opinion?
Flowering trees, birds returning, perennial gardens coming back to life – what are some “guaranteed miracles” you look forward to each spring?
“Stealing Lilacs” by Alice N. Persons, from Never Say Never, 2004. Copyrighted material used for educational or therapeutic purposes.
Photo credit: nhhomegmagazine.com