Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Summer - orchids

Chalk stones, age blackened, are slathered

down the hillside like petrified spume,

thrown from fields below by calloused hands,

to grow the staff of life - oats, barley or rye.

The cairn, labour’s monument, now

collapsed near the field’s edge of marjoram and thyme.

Frost-split stones  show fossils of shells. 

Here was once the Sea.

Today wild oats, barley or rye grow over the heap,

trefoil and clover creep, mossy patches slither

Solitary orchids rise above waves of wild grasses

a dark pink pyramid, heavy head bending the stem

a bright green spear, apparently adorned with flies.

Bees and spiders also have honeyed traps,

pale pink or spotted, each with its insect idol 

inviting from the flower’s throat.

This mycophilic orchid powders its dupe    

with grains of pollen to fertilise others of its kind.

Below earth, the hair tendrils of mycelium,

fed by their aerial host, wait to nurse its ripening seed, 

germ of another sweet flowered, insect attractive

fungus nourishing, rare plant.

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