Aaron Maniam, poet, nominates Aaron Lee’s poem “Searching for a Mythical Flower on St. John’s Night.” He writes, “Aaron finds names for the memories and musings we so often leave unexpressed, and I love that the poem has such a strong sense of place.”
Searching for a Mythical Flower on St. John’s Night
On the shortest night of the year,
there was a stubborn moon.
We found a hedgehog, and some glow-worms
signposting our way
through a forest with flowers
too dark to see.
We knew they were there
by the shadowed scent of their sleeping,
waiting to be born
with the first sharp pangs of the sun.
Here, away from the cold science of stars,
crickets vied to share their secrets
in the tinnitus of trees.
It’s funny now that I think of it,
how we never had any real hope
of finding what we had come to look for.
Hours later, we passed under the trees to return
empty-handed, so you put your hand in mine,
one foot before the other,
and we went without a sound.
Isn’t this how we all find our own ways home:
by silently treading that one road
familiar and forgotten as our first
pilgrimage from the womb.
Dear friend, only remember this
and some day we will know
what the words we spoke there really mean.
by Aaron Lee Soon Yong, from A Visitation of Sunlight, Ethos Books, 1997
Used with the author’s permission