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  • Writer's pictureKate Akhtar-Khavari


When recently preparing for the A BOTANIST'S GUIDE TO FLOWERS AND FATALITY Read-A-Long I'm doing on Instagram Live (schedule and links below), I discovered something I'd forgotten about this book:

I'd included epigraphs for each new month in the book!

When I started writing this book in 2018 (wow, five years ago?!), I was teaching fifth grade ELAR (English Language Arts) in addition to American history. Both would prove highly influential in the development of the Saffron Everleigh series concept, but as I gazed at these forgotten epigraphs, I realized that the entire reason I included them was of teaching. The fifth grade ELAR curriculum in Texas (at least when I was teaching it) heavily focused on poetry and poetic devices like imagery, simile and metaphor, personification, etc. So I spent many an hour with my students analyzing poetry, most of which was actual high-quality poetry. I developed quite a stash of poems to study with them, most of which were--surprise, surprise--related to nature, plants, weather, and seasons.

I wonder if Past Kate literally just dipped into that collection and found poems that spoke to the mood of each section of FLOWERS & FATALITY. The book begins (rather, began) in July (now it starts in August, but I'll share July's anyway) and lasts all the way to November (the epilogue is November, though it's not marked as such in the book), so we see a lot of time pass. Past Kate wanted to emphasize that time was passing and the effect that would have on certain elements of the story and characters' relationships, but Present Kate (and her editor) were looking to tighten the pacing and keep the word count down, so the epigraphs were removed.

Here they are, however, for you to enjoy and puzzle over.



Tis now the summer of your youth:

time has not cropped the roses from your cheek,

though sorrow long has washed them.

- Edward Moore

In the grey summer garden I shall find you With day-break and the morning hills behind you. There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings; And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings. Not from the past you’ll come, but from that deep Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep: And I shall know the sense of life re-born From dreams into the mystery of morn Where gloom and brightness meet...

- Siegfried Sassoon


The last of Summer is Delight -- Deterred by Retrospect. 'Tis Ecstasy's revealed Review -- Enchantment's Syndicate. To meet it -- nameless as it is -- Without celestial Mail -- Audacious as without a Knock To walk within the Veil.

- Emily Dickinson


O Autumn, laden with fruit, and stained With the blood of the grape, pass not, but sit Beneath my shady roof; there thou may'st rest, And tune thy jolly voice to my fresh pipe; And all the daughters of the year shall dance! Sing now the lusty song of fruit and flowers.

- William Blake


And I have waited for these autumn days, Thinking the cooling winds would bring relief. For I remembered how I loved them once, When all my life was full of melody. And I have looked and longed for their return, Nor thought but they would seem the same, to me.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Beyond the pearled horizons lie

Winter and night: awaiting these

We garner this poor hour of ease,

Until love turn from us and die

Beneath the drear November trees.

- Ernest Dowson


I'd love to hear what you think of these epigraphs and how you feel they reflect the published book! Drop a comment here or share on social media. All of my handles are @authorkkhavari.

If you'd like to follow along during the FLOWERS & FATALITY Read-A-Long, or watch the videos after, these are the links:

To join LIVE on the following dates, click on my profile picture at the times listed.

To watch the videos later, you can either look at my profile or click the individual videos below when they are available:

First Installment

Second Installment

Third Installment

Fourth Installment

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