Courtesy Photo / Patricia Clark
Professor Patricia Clark

Courtesy Photo / Patricia Clark Professor Patricia Clark

Patricia Clark

White campion, first, for being ubiquitous

and fetching, its puffy calyxes

like the thoraxes of bees, plump, pendant.

And another pale one wood anemone

with its opposite leaves, deeply palmate,

above which the flowers look creamy, shy.

Field clover, red, and the white sweet one,

too. Does the metalmark find it by scent?

Fading now, almost finished for the season, the elegant

reclusive stalks of dame’s rocket in three colors

pink, white, lavender. The last has lasted

longest, color of the dusky hours, the hours

of sorrow and reflection, of missing someone dear,

of words said that cannot be taken back.

A purple twining one, relative to the sweet pea,

which is called crown vetch. It adds

nitrogen to the soil and makes a stunning

companion along the roadside. Daily you fill in

one more name on the family tree, daily a new one

blooms. Soothing, idle purposes, oh summer.

[“White Sweet Clover and All the Other Named and Unnamed Flowers” appeared in Patricia Clark’s second book of poems, titled My Father on a Bicycle (copyright 2005, Michigan State University Press). Reprinted in The Lanthorn with permission of the author.]