Speedwell

Speedwell

(for S.D.C.B)

"The trembling Eyebright showed her sapphire blue" John Keats

Two feet, inverted, as if they’re asking for socks;
or awaiting the cobbler’s last; or someone who’s
‘kicked the bucket’; or fallen, headfirst, into a barrel.

Someone diving into a delicate, blue petal pool.
These stamens, pollen-bearing, awaiting the bees’
greedy ministrations or the insects’ speeded-up

time’s attention, their six feet alighting on two;
dancing on an invisible ceiling where a very small
man walks upside down, furry-footed, dust-booted.

These blue white tangles spread over summer lawn
in dappled, holly-leaf light intertwined with moss,
daisy and occasional promiscuous dandelion.

Plucked by friends, lovers, mothers-for-sons,
fathers-for-daughters, Veronica chamædry’s
bright blue, long stemmed flowers

Tucked in breast pocket, sealed in chain-and-locket
between breasts, pressed dry and stiff between
leaves of other books. ‘Those who bear me will be safe’.

The feet tap the air in rhythmic whisper as
coach-and-horses make their way through mud-darkened
lanes, or steam and sail shunt the tear-weary passenger

over wave and swell. Or peregrinations take the swollen-
footed pilgrim, flower in sockless boot and sandal to
Compostella, Jerusalem, Lourdes or St. Andrews.

How safe a symbol to bestow on loves; those held dear
now parted for weeks or years or life-times…
How many fell to storm or plague or robber’s cudgel?

The stained and trampled flower intact, hoping against hope
its luck would never run dry. Here it lies almost painful,
nearly pitiful in my mind’s palm. Hoping against hope it finds you:

Keeping you safe.

 

Giles H. Sutherland
July 2011