“Bougainvillea” (by Fe N. Reyes)

Because self has been gardening so much, and because she has tried to coax her bougainvillea “Purple Queen” into blooming more, so far without success, this poem encountered today spoke volumes to her. It’s from Fern Garden: Anthology of Women Writing in the South (edited by Merlie M. Alunan and published in 1998 by the NCCA Committee on Literature)


Then I slashed away
at your limbs, their grip
taunting the brown fruits
of the chico tree.
I abhorred your masquerade:
Pale leaves parading
as pink petals subverted
the fruit tree’s crown.

Climber, you were meant
to be a shrub.
Now, properly pruned,
humbled, in place
you awe me, fuschia mass.
Despite drought in these parts,
you limber up to tired rafters
ornamenting my abode
as small and proud
as your inconspicuous flowers.
Flourishing and secure,
the chico tree
stands. You blossom
in your own ground.

— by Fe N. Reyes

About the author: Born in Tacloban City, her early education was at the Holy Infant College. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from St. Theresa’s College and a Master in Education from the University of the Philippines – Cebu. She has four children.


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