Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lynn Ungar: "Camas Lilies"

















Consider the lilies of the field,
the blue banks of camas opening
into acres of sky along the road.
Would the longing to lie down
and be washed by that beauty
abate if you knew their usefulness,
how the natives ground their bulbs
for flour, how the settlers’ hogs
uprooted them, grunting in gleeful
oblivion as the flowers fell?
And you—what of your rushed
and useful life? Imagine setting it all down—
papers, plans, appointments, everything—
leaving only a note: “Gone
to the fields to be lovely. Be back
when I’m through with blooming.”
Even now, unneeded and uneaten,
the camas lilies gaze out above the grass
from their tender blue eyes.
Even in sleep your life will shine.
Make no mistake. Of course
your work will always matter.
Yet Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.


 
"Camas Lilies" by Lynn Ungar, from Blessing the Bread: Meditations. © Skinner House, 1995. Presented here as posted on the poet's website.

Art credit: "A red winged blackbird among spring camas blooms," photograph by Greg Stahl.


2 comments :

  1. “Gone
    to the fields to be lovely. Be back
    when I’m through with blooming.”

    My favorite lines from the poem.

    ReplyDelete

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