Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Flower Alphabet

YESTERDAY I READ THIS POEM in a year-old annual brochure from the local Community Foundation and it knocked, as they say, my socks off:

Flower Alphabet

Another flower
blossoms on the
coming of spring,
dandelions or
even roses, all
flowers starting to
gain beauty.
High above
I gaze down on
justice and nature,
kind and natural
lands filled with
majestic flowers.

No flower left
on Earth ugly,
pacing themselves, a
quilt of
roses even
sunflowers pace
toward the best
udder place.
Vegetables or fruit such as
watermelon. The hum of flowers like a
Your flower white and black a
zebra's majestic flower.

--Mike Nicol

I confess it was only the word "udder' that woke me up and made me realize what was going on here; even the title hadn't alerted me. What a careless reader I can be! But "udder" isn't out of place, not here on Eastside Road, or in Windsor, either, where the poet was (at the time of writing the poet, last year) a sixth grade student at Cali Calm├ęcac Charter School. Many of the fields hereabout are worked by cows, some of them dairy cows.

We have a field full of -- not cows, but Mariposa lilies, also known as Mariposa tulips, or golden nuggets. Calochortus luteus. I always thought they were named for Mariposa county, thinking they must have been particularly plentiful there: but it's simply named for the butterfly (mariposa in Spanish), which it resembles.

I don't know much about wildflowers. I don't know much about Cali Calm├ęcac Charter School or, for that matter, Mike Nicol. I called the school; last evening Nicol called me to give me permission to reprint the poem here. I asked if he was still writing. Yes, he said, but not so much poetry these days; he's working on a novel.

This is the kind of thing gives one hope for the future. Justice and nature, kind and natural lands! What a line!

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