False Solomon’s Seal

This entry is part 9 of 29 in the series Wildflower Poems


False Solomon's Seal by Jennifer Schlick
False Solomon's Seal by Jennifer Schlick (click to see larger)

Maianthemum racemosum (A.K.A. Smilacina racemosa)

False lily-of-the-valley,
false spikenard,
false Solomon’s seal —
well, what the hell
is it, then?
Fleshy rhizome
used despite the lack
of Solomonic imprimatur
to treat insanity, rheumatoid
arthritis, tapeworms,
snakebite, backache,
the common cold
& even conception
if taken the morning after.
Plant whose stalk tacks
back & forth from
leaf to ribbed leaf,
whose immature flowers
take their good green time.
Branched bloom,
white spray where all
the beetles wallow.
Hypogynous flower
with six inconspicuous tepals.
Ovary: superior.
Style: short.
Stigma: obscure.

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7 Replies to “False Solomon’s Seal”

  1. False Solomon’s Seal
    (after Dave Bonta)

    “False lily-of-the-valley,
    false spikenard,
    false Solomon’s seal — ”
    ~ Dave Bonta

    If all unknowing were so greenly lovely
    I’d wear them on my epaulettes:

    branched blooms, white spray where all
    the beetles wallow, insignia I ought to affix

    on the bottom line of soon-to-be-overdrawn
    cheques. It may be I’m only a poet, curator

    of shadows; cave-dabbler, foam-gazer,
    collector of netted chapeaux with names

    like “fascinator”– But ask which child
    or which part of child I’d be willing to part with,

    and I’d tell you to pot your head in peat
    and lichen. I’d show you the moldy parts

    of a goatee you never even thought you had;
    I’d strip you of name and inflated rank.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    01 23 2011

  2. Hey, nice comment! :) Shades of Williams there (that greenly flower) and Anglo-Saxon kennings around stanza 4. And I like how you brought it back to Solomon and the chief example of his purported wisdom.

  3. Liked both of those!

    The photograph surprised me… I have heaps of this and the non-false, and never would have thought of them like that! Nice.

    I especially like “tacks” there. Interesting mode of closure.

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