Inside : 17 Of The Most Delightful Peony Poems.
It is common knowledge that while flowers in and of themselves are inherently beautiful and full of life, there is something significant about the peony, something different. Whatever it is that sets them apart from other forms of foliage is something that resonates deeply with artists.
Poets, painters, photographers, and others all seem to be very drawn to the peony as a muse.
Peonies are a figure of power and abundance in some cultures, as well as being used as a metaphor for women’s beauty and their overall allure. In other cultures, peonies represent new life, since they are blossoming from underground. They represent a new beginning, the springtime, the perseverance of continuing to bloom and be beautiful despite being underground for so long.
With the peony flower, we are able to see the beauty of nature for what it really is. Here are some of our favorite poems using the flower as a muse.
Chinese Peony Poems
In Chinese culture, peonies have always been objects of fascination, Chinese poets constantly attempt to capture the beauty of them with words. Known as “King of Flowers” due to their big, voluptuous petals, which is believed to symbolize prosperity and happiness. Let’s take a look at some beautiful peony poems that stem from Chinese heritage.
- Visit to the Hermit Chui: “Moss covered paths between scarlet peonies, / Pale jade mountains fill your rustic windows. / I envy you, drunk with flowers; / Butterflies swirling in your dreams. —Qian Qi
- Tree Peonies: “Embroidered garden, everywhere there, fettered famous flowers; / My steps are blocked by the red tiers of budding crimson / I ponder on your favors, which resemble the colors of springtime- / Upon tree peony branches, indeed their glory’s profuse.” —Lu Shusheng
- Peonies at Jixing Temple: “Springtime radiance, gradually, gradually where does it go? / Again before a wine jar, we take up a goblet. / All day we’ve questioned the flowers, but the flowers do not speak. / For whom do they shed their petals and leaves, for whom do they bloom?” —Emperor Yang
- The Red Peony: “Voluptuous green so leisurely and tranquil / and robe of red now light, now dark / heart of the flower sadness about to break / but how could we know this from such spring colors.” —Wang Wie
- Drinking with Friends Amongst the Blooming Peonies: “We had a drinking party to admire the peonies. / I drank cup after cup till I was drunk. / Then to my shame I heard the flowers whisper, / ‘What are we doing, blooming for these old alcoholics?’” —Ling Huchu
Japanese Poems About The Peony Flower
Similarly to Chinese culture, peonies are known as the “King of Flowers.” However, in Japanese culture, it is because they represent good fortune, honour, and bravery. Although, many poems by Japanese poets are not using the peony as a symbol for anything, and rather simply discuss the beauty of the flower itself.
- “Dear, dear, / What a fat, happy face it has, / This peony!” —Issa
- “When the peonies bloomed, / It seemed as though there were / No flowers around them.” —Kiitsu
- “In the stillness, / Between the arrival of guests, / The peonies.” —Buson
- “About to bloom, / And exhale a rainbow, / The peony!” —Buson
- “What peonies! / One poem per flower / will not do.” —Ryumin
- “The peony flower: / It’s a woman with plenty / of meat on her bones.” —Hakuo
The Peony Flower In English Poetry
Unlike the Chinese and Japanese cultures, English culture does not hold peonies to the same regard and symbolism. In Western poetry, peonies are used to represent the springtime, a new, fresh start, and tend to concentrate on their short-lived beauty and the infatuation that comes from it.
- Peonies by Mary Oliver: This well-known poem about the delicate flower uses gorgeous imagery as well as personifying different elements of nature. After reading this you may feel compelled to walk outside and appreciate the world.
- By the Peonies: “The peonies bloom, white and pink. / And inside each, as in a fragrant bowl, / A swarm of tiny beetles have their conversation, / For the flower is given to them as their home. / Mother stands by the peony bed, / Reaches for one bloom, opens its petals, / And looks for a long time into peony lands, / Where one short instant equals a whole year. / Then lets the flower go. / And what she thinks / She repeats aloud to the children and herself. / The wind sways the green leaves gently / And speckles of light flick across their faces. / The charms of the ordinariness soothe the threat of anxiety.” -Czeslaw Milosz
- Today by Billy Collins: Collins uses peonies to exemplify that it is springtime. On this day he is describing, it is a perfect, warm, and energizing spring day after a season of a cold, dark winter.
- Peonies at Dusk by Jane Kenyon: This poem is a great example of depicting the raw, natural beauty of the peony flower. Kenyon compares the large petals and face of the flower to that of a loved one’s whom you just can’t get enough of.
- The Garden in Winter: “The winter sun that rises near the south / Looks coldly on my garden of cold clay; / Like some old dotard with a bitter mouth, / Shrugs his grey robe to his ears and creeps away. / Come down the mountains, April! With young eyes, / And roguish daisy-children trooping after, / Draw from the sullen clay red peonies, / Bring back the sun as a stripling full of laughter!” —Mary Webb
- Fragrance: Peonies in 1937 by Merrill Moore: This is a hauntingly beautiful poem about the constant movement of life. Moore uses the smell of a bush of peonies as a centripetal element in this poem to depict that life continues to move onwards.
More Poems You’ll Love
- 23 Poems About Adventure – Got an itch for some exploring? These collections of poems all center around travel and the feelings that come when doing so. Read along to poems written by people who, like you, also had an intense appreciation for adventure and travel. Allow them to resonate in a way that makes you reminisce on your own travels with fondness, or maybe they will inspire you to get up and go somewhere!
- Poems About Winter – While the wintertime can be somewhat depressing, being dark and cold way more often than we’d like, there is still beauty to be found within this season. Winter has been a massive inspiration for artists for a very long time. Just think of all the winter songs you hear on the radio come Christmastime! So snuggle up close to the fire under a cozy blanket, make yourself a cup of hot cocoa, and dive into this collection of poems. You’ll end up appreciating all the undercover beauty and essence of the season!
- Poems For Confidence – If you ever feel self-conscious, or insecure, know that you are most definitely not alone. Tons of poets turn to art in their darkest times, and express their feelings through the art of poetry. However, next time you’re feeling a little down about yourself, take a gander at one of these poems that exude confidence and self-worth! Scrolling through this collection will help you get your mojo back in no time, and you’ll read some extremely touching poems along the way. Sounds like a win-win!