Hepatica

Hepatica by Jennifer Schlick
Hepatica by Jennifer Schlick (click to see larger)

Hepatica nobilis

Above the road bank where
the hepatica has just come
into bloom, carrion beetles
clamber through the quills
of a dead porcupine.
Spring azure butterflies ring
what’s left of its mouth—
a void spanned by a pair
of yellow rails—
& ignore the blossoms
swaying on their downy stems
in all the colors of the sky,
white & pink & blue.
The snow hasn’t been gone a week,
but already life & death
seem far apart. The rusty leaves
that lasted the winter out
are relaxing into the earth,
& soon will be indecipherable
even to the most ardent follower
of the doctrine of signatures
in search of liverleaf,
or those who seek respite
from dreams of snakes.

*

An earlier version of this poem appeared in a post from April 17, 2006.

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4 Comments


  1. A lovely poem about the loveliest flower of the woods. Hepatica will always remind me of death, and resurrection too, since they bloom around the time my mother died, and she loved them as much as I do. But life goes on, and each spring arrives in its turn, full of fragile beauty.

    Reply

    1. Glad you liked it, Beth, and well put. I remembered that it was your favorite wildflower, but not that your mother died in hepatica time.

      Reply

  2. Hello-
    I have just finished a pen & ink drawing of Hepatica and would love to use your poem in the drawing. What is your full name and can you give me permission?
    thank you

    Reply

    1. Hi Bonnie – Please see the About page for my policy on reuse and such — the short answer is yes. Thanks for your interest.

      Reply

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