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"This spring,"
   said Helen,
"I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems so very exuberant,
its pinky-purply petals
mocking me
each time I try to paint it,"
   brush shaking in her hand.


 3
This spring,
   said Helen,
I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems so very exuberant,
   its pinky-purply petals
      mocking me
   each time I try to paint it,
   brush shaking in my hand.


2
This spring,
   said Helen,
I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems so very exuberant,
   its pinky-purply petals
      shrieking
      mocking
   each time I limp over the lawn.


1
This spring,
   said Helen,
I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems a bit too exuberant,
   its pinky-purply petals
      shrieking
      mocking
   each time I shuffle across the lawn.
I really can't tell you anything to change about this poem.  I can tell you how it left me feeling, which is I'd really like to know Helen.

As to the good suggestions that followed my brief one, I guess I'd wonder if Helen is speaking or thinking those lines.  I took it has her speaking.  Possibly incredible that anyone would talk that way in ordinary conversation, but novels hope so every day, so why not?  So I took mocking and shrieking as more joking than serious.
Hello Leaf-
Welcome to the Pen.

This spring,
  said Helen,
I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems a bit too exuberant,
  its pinky-purply petals
      shrieking  Ok- they're LOUD, but this loud?
      mocking
  each time I shuffle across the lawn.  "Shuffle" deftly conveys that this may be an older person (which is how I read it) .The line seems a bit off, though, as people usually don't describe their own gait as shuffling esp across the lawn.

Though I read Helen as an older person, I have my doubts, as the older folks I know (which are many) are overjoyed by the vibrant colors of Spring.  If Helen has paranoia issues, then her fear would be more understandable, but there isn't enough describing Helen.  I'm sure she is clear in your mind, but she needs to be clearer in mine.

I am a big fan of short poems, and I very much like the idea you have here.  Still, it would be stronger if you pay close attention to the importance of each word in the 2nd stanza.

Thanks for the read!
Mark
I like the opening hook, but the second strophe doesn't do much for me.
Shrieking and mocking are much too strong for the suggestion that they are just a bit too exuberant
Hi everyone,

Thanks very much for taking the time to read and comment; I'll have a think about making a few changes soon.

Helen (not her real name) was a neighbour. She was an artist and I always enjoyed our conversations, which were seldom ordinary, I suppose.

I need to think about a title too.

All best,
Leaf
Revision posted; thanks again.
Hey leaf-

This spring,
  said Helen,
I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems so very exuberant,
  its pinky-purply petals
      shrieking
      mocking me
  each time I limp across the lawn.  disabilty is now a part of the revised poem: more descriptive, good.

I think "shrieking" is still the odd word out, and I wouldn't stay married to it. Since you indicated that "Helen" is an artist, you may want to rethink that last line. Maybe something about picking up the brush...  Readers will fill in the image.  In the 2nd stanza you need to be careful about speaking like "Helen" would, not you, the narrator.

Yer gettin there,
... Mark
Hi Mark,

Thanks for coming back. I've taken on board your comments to come up with v.3. Good to know I'm gettin there.

All best,
Leaf
"This spring",
    said Helen,
"I'm slightly afraid
of the magnolia --

it just seems so very exuberant,
its pinky-purply petals
mocking me
each time I try to paint it."
   Brush shaking in her hand

Way to go Leaf!  Striking "shrieking" was a very good idea.

The last line is very close now, but it still sounds like the voice of the N and not "Helen".  It's OK to introduce N's voice, and in fact it would make the poem more realistic. Changing my to her would do that.  Having the last line voiced by N reinforces N's presence, which is only known from  L.2 "said Helen". 

Plus, consider indenting N's voice to separate it from "Helen's". Adding quotation marks also separates the comments by "Helen". 

The "brush shaking" subtly refers back to "slightly afraid" and is a very good touch.  

I hope my observations help get you closer, but there's still something about the sentence structure of those last two lines that would benefit by very, very careful re-working.

Short poems are always the most difficult, as every nuance counts.  Deep breath, and exhale... You've worked hard to get this one right up to the finish line. 
... Mark
"This time,"
   Leaf typed,
"I hope to have made
further improvements --

but I'm open to
further suggestions
as to how to improve
my work."

Thanks again, Mark. I agree that short poems are pretty tricky. And... breathe.