Decoration Day by Jim Abel
Please click on the Iris to listen.
Words and Music by Jim Abel
In the Springtime, in the side yard, white and purple, there were iris.
How my mother loved those flowers, though she always called them flags.
She had moved them from the old home in the car next to us kids.
Others might not see their beauty, but my mother always did.
Late in May we’d cut the flags down, unless there had been a late spring.
Wrap the stems, protect the heads with damp newspapers we had saved,
mason jars we’d filled with water in the trunk of our old car.
Slowly we would make the circuit, leaving tributes near and far.
At the summit of the hill, as it was I see it still.
In bright rows the flowers lay when there was Decoration Day.
Taking flowers to her mother was one thing my Mom and I did.
Here and there were aunts and cousins, relatives I never met.
No time out for prayers or stories; there’s a lot I wish I’d known.
We’d just stop to leave the flowers, trim the grass and clean the stone.
Then one Spring she went without me, why that was I don’t remember.
By the next year or one later no one cut the flags at all.
I would like to think she missed me, but then I would be to blame.
What I know is without iris Spring would never be the same.
In the Springtime, in my mem’ry, purple and white flags are standing
in cool rows of mason jars on granite slabs atop a hill.
Though I know if I looked now there would be no flags at all:
only artificial flowers blooming Winter, Spring and Fall.
© 2005 by Jim Abel
All rights reserved