While I do appreciate flowers, their beauty, and their design inspiration potential, I'm not really a flower person so today's prompt was a bit aaaaaaaugh-y. In the midst of research for it, I stumbled across mention of Hanakotoba, the Japanese language of flowers used in Ikebana, and pried out something related to peonies (which I do like rather much).
#8: Ikebana with Peony and Pine
Petals tightly cupped around your golden centre
Like a woman cloaking her innermost self
Yet unfurling around the edges with grace
A slow, measured blooming
A relaxing, a letting-down
As a woman might let down defences
When trust is won.
In Hanakotoba - the Japanese language of flowers
(Itself a dying art, meanings slowly fading
Like the blooms they symbolise)
You are bravery
For every woman is brave, even the least of these
And every day in a hostile society
Where violence is normal and safety tenuous
Requires courage: unsung, unnoticed
Yet absolutely essential
A lifeline through treacherous sands and deep water.