For the longest time, I had no idea that the flower so highly referenced in literary and popular culture, the infamous Lily of the valley, is a poisonous plant. All lilies, I thought, stood for beauty and purity and my love for them stemmed (pun unintended) not just from the name of Harry Potter’s mother but from my childhood years spent collecting calla lilies from my mother’s garden for our dining table. Whether or not you share my fondness for the flower however, I am certain you will enjoy this short piece of brilliant poetry penned by our editor-in-chief, Daniel Bourne. The poem was recently published in the literary journal, Plume, and is here for your reading pleasure:
Lily of the Forest
On the slopes of Mt. Ślęża, the cult
of stone, virgin
holding the fish, bear
with the solar cross on its rump, all caged
in wire mesh
though the vandals still break through with their spraypaint.
All the stops and starts
of slippery rock and worn boot,
the falling leaves of history
warm stew in the tourist cup.
And on the way down
all these red berries in the forest
surrounded with silver leaves. Yes,
I would call this holy. Even the vandals
have a word they use for home.