Rhododendron Rhapsody

The Rhodora
by Ralph Waldo Emerson

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

* * *

This morning, on his way to work, hubby returned to the balcony door with a bloom from one of the rhododendrons on the lawn, dewdrops still clinging to its petals, that had either broken off in the wind, or had been snapped by children’s careless play. These photos show it as pinkish, but it actually has more of that lovely, soft lavender color than pink. Rhododendrons are among my very favorite blooms — they look so tissue paper thin, and yet are so resilient.

Above, the rhododendron from which my blossoms came…below, another
reddish-pink bush that struggles to bloom, despite no regular care.


Author: nancybond

A writer, photographer, naturalist from small town Nova Scotia, Canada.

10 thoughts on “Rhododendron Rhapsody”

  1. Nancy .. I remember wild ones near the woods of Louisbourg .. I’ll never forget their scent on a warm Spring /summer day .. and that gorgeous light purple colour. I was a lucky “kid” to enjoy such a beautiful place.

  2. I so admire a woman who knows how to find a good man! And it sounds like you’ve got one. You’ve also got some gorgeous blooms there. Hopefully, we humans are as resilient.

  3. I love that line in the poem
    …when sea-winds pierced our solitudes”
    Thanks for that reminder of the poem.
    Lovely shots of the rhododendron.

  4. Nancy, Emerson’s words bring vivid pictures to my mind. And I suppose that is what a good writer does. Thanks for sharing that one with us and how perfectly fitting to go with your lovely blooms.

  5. Nancy,
    I’m a writer and painter, and I love to garden. I love the Emerson poem, rhodies in the woods, so sweet. They grow all over here in the PNW. Thanks. Flower

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