Saturday, July 12, 2014

David Budbill: "The Ubiquitous Day Lily of July"

There is an orange day lily that blooms in July and is
everywhere around these parts right now. Common.
Ordinary. It grows in everybody's dooryard—abandoned
or lived in—along the side of the road, in front of stone walls,
at gas stations and garages, at the entrance to driveways,
anywhere it takes a mind to sprout. You always see them
in clusters, bunches, never by themselves. They propagate
by rhizomes, which is why they are so resilient, and why
you see them in bunches.

There is an orange day lily that blooms in July and is
ubiquitous right now. The roadside mowers mow a lot
of them, but they don't get them all.

These are not the rare and delicate lemon yellow day lilies
or the other kinds people have around their places. This one
is coarse and ordinary, almost harsh in its weathered beauty,
like an older woman with a tough, worldly-wise and wrinkled
face. There is nothing nubile, smooth or perky about this flower.
It's not fresh. It's been around awhile and everybody knows it.

As I said, it's coarse and ordinary and it's beautiful because
it's ordinary. A plant gone wild and therefore become
rugged, indestructible, indomitable, in short: tough, resilient,
like anyone or thing has to be in order to survive.

"The Ubiquitous Day Lily of July" by David Budbill. Published online by The Writer's Almanac, September 4, 2013. © David Budbill.

Art credit: "Tiger Lily Bloom," alkyds on mounted canvas, by Linda Richter. Caption: "The intense orange and yellow of the tiger lily comes to life. Sometimes just one and sometimes a row of them line the back roads of New Hampshire. Lush and green foliage sets off the brilliant orange of the blossoms."

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