Part Three: Violet
My mood soured as I moved along the deer-printed path. The shadows lengthened and I realized, with finality, that my dream-rose was simply that: a daydream.
No phantom was going to bloom out of my red-rose into a bell-jar. I walked on, past the abandoned bootlegger's car that was pocked with bullet-holes and appeared to have crashed sixty years past into a wall of honeysuckle. Just beyond where the old car rusted a narrow path led up a steep incline to an open cornfield.
Sunlight called and I huffed up the hill. Once on top, I saw endless corn. I spied the Catholic cemetery across the field. I heard a very strange sound, almost like a baby-cry. An instant later, the biggest hawk I had ever seen flew over my head, screeching. The hawk, obviously hunting, circled overhead.
I turned back. My idea about following Yeats's Ghost Flower ritual seemed stupid to me now. But I'd promised myself to do it, so I reluctantly decided to just grab whatever flower I could find and go home.
Reluctantly, I picked the only kind of flower available, a droopy violet. It promptly came apart in my hands. So did the second one. The third one shriveled up as soon as I picked it, but it retained enough of its form that it still resembled a flower, so I put it into my water bottle and started the long walk home.
I now felt myself broiling with contempt. I had wanted a rose, not a violet. Now the whole ritual just seemed like waste of time. On top of that, I'd started feeling extremely thirsty about ten seconds after I put the violet in my water bottle. If I wanted to drink now, I'd have to drink out of the water with the scrubby flower in it. Wiping sweat and spiderwebs off of my face, I took a long drink.
It tasted flowery and cold.
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Daniel E. Blackston
My experiences with William Butler Yeats's Ghost Flower ritual.