Burnt out black silhouettes
Insinuate themselves into the corner of my vision,
Lingering around the edges of dusky roads
And twilight waste grounds.
Spiky oval spines,
I can smell them in my mind,
Swaying like a distant wave.
Seeds long set, shedding their old skins
Waiting patiently for summer.
How soft the new cottonbuds are,
Brushes to drift over baby scalps
But not tough enough for lamb’s wool.
Clustering rings of tiny violet flowers
Attract the hum of bees.
They are called ‘Venus cup’,
Symbols of love and cycles,
Weeds to warm my heart;
I long to grasp the delicate thorns,
To draw their fragile sharpness.
Long ragged leaves, green veins pulsing,
Reaching to the sky;
A tall figure with many arms,
But rooted firmly with remedies,
Sun warmed and dappling the undergrowth.
When the seed heads turn to spiky brown
They lure the goldfinch;
Treasures for the worthy.
But darker secrets surround this magical plant:
The rain water pools within their joints,
Fermenting insect potions in hidden pitchers –
What other plant furnishes my landscape so well?
Creeping ivy, ferns and grasses,
Lurking brambles and twisting branches;
All are crowned by the golden teasel.