"Iris," said God, "It's time to wake up!"
And he rapped on her little brown bulb …

"Oh, hi there! How are you, God?
Is it springtime? It must be!
The ground is so wonderf'ly warm!
I'd hoped to get up by the middle of March

I'm quite sorry, God, if I've overslept."

Then God called aloud to the newly born flower,
"Never mind, Iris, get up and get going,
I won't have you napping till May."

"I'm quite wide awake, and I'm tingly with spring,"
Said Iris to God, and she shouted, "Ker-boing!
Yoo-hoo, I'm here, God! Heigh-ho! And Sproing! Sproing!
I'm Iris! I'm up! I've shattered the ground,
I'm bursting with life, I've come back to town.
I'm one of the good blooms the ground can't hold down.
Can you see me here, God? I've popped through the sod.
I'm waving! Wave back! If you're there, smile and nod!"

"Yes, Iris, I see you! My, my, you seem free!
You're giddy and pleased with yourself, I can see!
Bloom and grow, Iris
be all you can be!
But tell me, dear Nub, how you feel about me?"

"Really now, God, can you be that important?
I bless every rain and the afternoon sun
And the fuzzy gold bees that tickle my leaves."

"But I made the rain and the sun and the bees,
And you as well, Iris
so, what about me?

"Dear God about you I simply don't know,
And I never discuss my religion, you know …
I only know, God, when I get my head
I'm going to sing purple and dance in the sun
And sing a grand hymn to my bright royal glory!

"Never be arrogant, Iris, dear Nub
Because you're so slender and tall,
Remember, all blooms have their weaknesses, dear."

She soon was excited to find her green body
Was growing a large purple head
That softly, then firmly unfolded.
She then gazed in glory upon her reflection
In a silver and sky-imaged pool.
She turned her orchid-like head to the sky,
"God, it's Iris again. Just look at me now.
The word to describe me can only be wow!"

"Hello, God, heigh, ho! I'm Iris the tall!
I'm here where I've always been, here by the wall,
Gazing at autumn: I just love the fall!
I feel like an empress so royal and tall,
As I gaze at the reds of the marigold beds
With scarlets untold and carmines and golds."

"Poor, foolish Iris! You're one braggy bloom!
Be silent, and now, for we do have to talk.
The winter is coming, the season of death."

"You will live again, Iris, but not till the breath
Of the winter wind ends.
The blizzard will cut you and slice your green arms
And freeze your slim stem till it snaps at the ground.
In the pain of your passing you'll beg just to die
And curse your own Maker and look at the sky
And hurl your insults at heaven."

"Never!" cried Iris.

But November blew cold and Iris was buried.

"Help God! Please help! I'm choking in snow.
Oh, why was I born to suffer like this?
My pain is too great; I just cannot bear it.
I'm dying, yes dying … oh, let me die, please …"
She trembled and shuddered and yielded to ice
And snow through the nights drifted silent and cold.

But the robins of springtime hurried the winter
And the snow once again seeped wet by the wall
And the soft April sun soon smiled the world warm
Till God rapped again on Iris's root.

"Iris," said God, "It's time to wake up!"

"Oh, hi there … Good morning.
Is it springtime already?
Oh God
I am wiser and now I can see.
It is you I must love and not focus on me.
Oh God, I'm alive … alive and so free!
The ground is so warm
did you warm it for me?"

God only smiled as Iris broke through
And reached her leaves forth through chocolate sod
And waved her green arms and breathed the word, "God."
This one simple word for her was a prayer,
And sometimes she sang it to brighten the air.
And the marigolds loved her! Each one of them said
That Iris knew how to bend her proud head.
She truly loved God,
For he'd come as he said
And kissed her alive from the dead.

From Apples, Snakes, and Bellyaches by Calvin Miller, pages 172-181.

    About the Author

  • Calvin Miller