Mary Orovan – Victorian not yet called Women

June 30, 2014 | By | 8 Replies More

Ladies wore the flowers
of unfulfilled
wreathing their hair and chests.
It was only in flowers
they saw what they didn’t know
about the sensuality
of opening buds
the full unabashed I am
of a peony.















Mary Orovan is the author of GREEN RAIN (Poets Wear Prada, 2008). Her work has appeared in many journals, among them Poetry East, 2 River View, San Pedro River View. Living in New York City, she started writing poetry after 9/11. She’s proud to have been in the second wave of the Women’s Movement where among other things, she wrote articles about language and image.

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Category: Knowing

Comments (8)

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  1. M L Hauser says:

    “The full unabashed I am/ of a peony” love these lines!

  2. Jessica Nooney says:

    Good poem Mary. Sort of a small but strong spotlight on a painting from that time.

  3. Jill Coyle says:

    This is a very unique poem! I love that it is very vivid and evocative, yet concise!

    • Mary Orovan says:

      Jill, and others, Thank you for “getting it”, in your nice comments.. Yes, I wanted to condense a world of information about that time and more. Still and again, limited vistas and self image today in too many places for women.. Yes, poem is influenced by the film, “Hysteria”, but I wanted the “unabashed I am” to be about way more than sexualiity, about a full, open intellectual horizon. About knowing.

  4. short, sweet, and SEXY!

  5. Diane Block says:

    The Victorian woman’s potential sensuality reflected in the peony.
    Unabashed and knowing, these flowers, yes, and oh so lush and luxuriant!

  6. Roberta Curley says:

    i love the curtailed sensuality in this poem.
    the surprise ending removes sensuality, replacing it
    with a burst of wonder.
    terrific mixture of ponder-some thought-provoking
    imagery with a delightful finale of a
    couldn’t be more innocent & proud flashing peony!

  7. Mary Orovan says:

    I really get it now that “ladies ” in 2014 is used for “guys”, as in “let’s go ladies”, where I might have said, “let’s go guys” to the same group. Ladies, better, I suppose, and certainly better than “girls”, which is not very flattering except in, “You go, girl” 🙂 All this is to say, what you are called is significant. In Victorian times, women were rarely called women — they were ladies and expected to behave as such. My poem comes from that connotation. They were suffragettes, poetesses.

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