Plumeria Alba, Order Gentianales,
tocsin of exotic tropical paradise,
you deliciously enticing fake,
artificial illusion of danger.

Solo beckoning lightened purity
delicate and beautiful innocence
perfectly designed siren
to lure, snare and entrap.

Frangipani in frozen minds
of sun warmed happy days
basking on distant shores.
Desire feeds feigned fantasy.

Plumeria Alba, better known as Frangipani, is common throughout the tropics, especially here on  Koh Phangan. The photos above were taken of flowers that I found in the garden yesterday. The flower has a remarkable significance in many cultures. It is often used as a symbol of the ‘exotic tropics’ in European & N.American cultures. Yet it is a symbol of death in some Asian cultures (e.g. Philippines, Indonesia, Bengal, Vietnamese). Conversely, in Polynesian cultures it can be worn by women as a symbol of relationship status (over the right ear if seeking a partner, over the left if taken).

Further interest in this flower was sparked when I found out that whilst it has a strong fragrance it has no nectar (thus the references to “fake” and “siren”), it fools moths into pollinating the flower by luring them with smell, but no actual nectar is available.
The flower sometimes reminds me of the artificial beautified, ignominious, celebrity of the mass media.


About danieltrump

breathing and sensing human. Learning to observe, learning to write, exploring ideas and thinking.

One comment

  1. Lovely poem tinged with bitterness. Imagining the curves, the lure of a woman/seductress while reading it. Impressive. I read a book, Frangipani, by Celestine Vaite, several years ago. The tropical, colorful cover art won me over. About mother/daughter relationships, traditional/modern women’s roles in Tahiti; enjoyable. Interesting to learn there’s a “sinister” side to this beautiful blossom…that it and plumeria are the same…that it could spark such curiosity, delicate petals carry the burden of being a metaphor for “the artificial beautified, ignominious, celebrity of the mass media.”

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