The first of the Kennebunk Plains
Northern Blazing Star bounty
to buzz and bumble in the blaze.
Little do they know
they feed on
And in feeding propagate
the next celestial generation,
bridging a gap in eternity
that for all my knowing
I can not touch.
That will have to be enough.
In sun the flowers are along the road through the marsh
are just a mutter of color in the foreground.
In fog, when the gray mist collapses distance
and damps the light,
they are a shout…a roar of color
challenging the day to do it’s worst…
defiant in the face of fog.
They make me want to cheer.
The Wood Lily
at least in Southern Maine
is a solitary flower.
You might find them in a loose cluster,
spread over 25 square yards,
but mostly they grow one by one…
one here like a burning brand in the tall grass
or at the roots of the pines,
and another there like a distillation of a week of sunsets
at the edge of the pond.
It is rare to find a bouquet of them growing close,
a bright bonfire, so intense it lights the day,
and lifts you right out of any semblance of ordinary…
Our local Swallowtail is the Tiger,
and everyone here calls the common orange day lily
Tiger Lily (though it isn’t)
so, close enough, “Tiger in the Tiger Lily.”
And certainly exotic enough
to justify the name.
Such an outrageous play of color,
form, and texture,
as though the two
were arm wrestling
for the beauty crown!
In the new grain fields of the modern
intensive agricultural of Austria and Hungary,
red poppies still surface: waves and pools,
streams and puddles, of bright poppie color,
undefeatable, bold against the green and gold,
just as they always have, time out of time…
as though the earth is bleeding for the gentle touch
of the old ways: the horse plow
and the scythes and sheaves of harvest…
for the absent birds, the hare and roe,
pushed to the edges by these
monocultured, manicured factories of grain,
factories of gain.
And there is a part of me
(the better part I think)
that bleeds with the poppies.
The Bird of Paradise
is an outrageous plant…
the flower a mockery of sense.
That excessive pointy purple thing
with tiny useless wings and
the threatening white needle tip
rides up over, springs like a surprise party
from an unnecessarily bright orange flame
of, what…petals? bracts?…some
extravagant conflagration of blossom
that leaves the mind reeling,
and really quite amazed,
astonished at the beauty…
the beauty that
(after all is said and done)
the Bird of Paradise.