Tag Archives: trout lilies

Trout Lilies

six-antlered bright faces and many red tongues

(Mary Oliver)

It happened that I couldn’t find in all my books
more than a picture and a few words concerning
the trout lily,

so I shut my eyes.
And let the darkness come in
and roll me back.
The old creek

began to sing in my ears
as it rolled along, like the hair of spring,
and the young girl I used to be
heard it also,

as she came swinging into the woods,
truant from everything as usual
except the clear globe of the day, and its
beautiful details.

Then she stopped,
where the first trout lilies of the year
had sprung from the ground
with their spotted bodies
and their six-antlered bright faces,
and their many red tongues.

If she spoke to them, I don’t remember what she said,
and if they kindly answered, it’s a gift that can’t be broken
by giving it away.
All I know is, there was a light that lingered, for hours,
under her eyelids–that made a difference
when she went back to a difficult house, at the end of the day.

A different kind of refuge

This poem comes from Mary Oliver’s Why I Wake Early, and if you haven’t read it, you should. Happy Poetry Month!

 

Trout Lilies 2010, Part I

aka Dog Tooth Violet (This for Mary G).

This trout lily is probably about three or four years old.

Around here, the very first of the trout lily leaves are appearing.

Look for them at the base of large tree trunks, between exposed roots, on sun-facing southern slopes. The microclimate there is just warm enough to give them a head start. They will look like tightly furled brown spears poking their way through the soil at first. On my birthday, I found several. I can’t wait to get back out this weekend and see how they’ve grown.

This was taken about a week before the other one, just as they were beginning to grow