Poetically Yours Ep. 18 - Poet Shares His Awe For A Specific Flower

Dec 4, 2020

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by northern Illinois poets. This week's poem is by Richard Holinger

Richard Holinger.
Credit Provided by Richard Holinger.

Holinger is a published author. His books include Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences, a collection of his newspaper columns, and North of Crivitz, a book of poetry focusing on the North Woods and Upper Midwest. His work has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, and his essay published in Thread received a “Notable” mention in Best American Essays 2018. Holinger's works have appeared in several different journals. He lives in the Fox River Valley area west of Chicago. Degrees include a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today he is sharing his poem "Bluebells in the Time of Coronavirus."

We cut a path through bluebells powdering
The woods, and as you bent to put a hand
Down to a white variety, you called to me,
Stopped on the wooden bridge
Whose guardrail had rotted and fallen
Into the runoff creek full with last night’s rain.

You looked as if the flower caught
You by surprise and changed
The way you lived. When finally
Crossing the path that took us back,
Farther up that mowed and trampled earth,
You called again, this time looking up from

A barn red trillium at what you thought
A heron, I an eagle, my vision no less
Or more than yours because it isn’t
Names or who identifies what flies
Beyond our knowing that make one
Any more safe or fortunate. Once wings

Were lost beyond the reach of branches shamrock
Starred, we moseyed on, past the white boxed
Piled hives, beeless for years, why they didn’t take
To petal euphoria who knows, too cold, too hot,
Or sometimes just the lay of the land is wrong.
Grounded in banter about our son and daughter,

Living now in the spring of their age, to us
Uniquely hued, like that rare afternoon
Through which we strolled toward home,
We heard what sounded like honeybees
Swarming above the broken hives, searching
For somewhere to land, for something to draw on.

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.