I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

6 November 2008

Frida Kahlo

I envisaged her with gardenias in her hair
like those over there on the coffee table,
big splashes of white, and that scent.
‘I think of Billie Holliday,’
said the friend who gave them to me.
‘She always wore one in her hair.’

True, but I thought of Frida,
of whom it is not, apparently, true.
I search her self-portraits. She wore
yellow flowers – daisies
and perhaps chrysanthemums –
and red roses. Seldom white;
and when, I couldn’t tell what kind.

So I look instead at her face
knowing of course the tales,
her life of pain and turmoil
and passion, and most of all love.
I gaze at her expression,
and the set of her head.
Such dignity! She never smiles.


Submitted 7 March 2014 for Poets United's Midweek Motif: Honouring women and women's achievements. (I guess this honours her obliquely, not spelling it right out.)


  1. Thank you!

    I'm surprised and pleased by it - and have already had another little tinker since first posting it up. I should learn to leave things sit awhile, but I get so thrilled by any new one, lol.

  2. Nicely written, I love the rhyme - in her hair loke those over there...

  3. Many thanks, stg, glad you noticed, and liked.

  4. This is pretty direct honoring! You might be remembering the bouquets of White peace lilies Diego Rivera shows her with--but I like how this flows, from friend's gift to rumination to looking at her face. She did that too.

    1. Thank you, Susan. Yes, perhaps it was the lilies I was thinking of. I would also have had in the back of my mind the wonderful Salma Hayek movie.

  5. So true that Frida Kahlo never seems to smile. So any self portraits with nary a smile. The intensity of her life and her art always shines through!

    1. Yes, her paintings are arresting and beautiful.

  6. You certainly chose a fascinating woman to honor! For some reason I also picture her with white flowers on her head.

    1. Interesting!

      I think she must have been exceptionally strong.

  7. 'uncompromising' and 'dignity' describe her so well...a wonderful tribute...

  8. A lovely tribute! I especially like the imagery of the flower in her hair :)

  9. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, my friend.

  10. I assume she did smile.. but she choose not to show herself like that.. and for good reason... Her portraits are quite stunning.

    1. Yes, that serious, almost stern look of hers is quite arresting.

  11. She was so talented, strong and intriguing. I especially like that final stanza, how it captures her.