Tuesday, February 26, 2008


skunk cabbage

This lovely flower here is a Skunk Cabbage and it grows in the marshy, wet areas of which we have in abundance here in Western Oregon. It is a common every day plant but one that is very beautiful I think.You will see whole patches of them in wet boggy places that you wouln't think anything could grow in. Everywhere here spring is showing herself the frogs croaking their mating call at night and the trees with their tiny buds about to burst forth.

I have found that in the past few years as I get older I have a renewed love of poetry and how poets with just a single word can craft a landscape which we all may visit with their words. Lately, I have been reading Billy Collins poetry and this one I am about to share is one of my favorites for the time and place I presently am with my life. It is from Picnic, Lightning.

My life

Sometimes I see it as a straight line
drawn with a pencil and ruler
transecting the circle of the world

or as a finger piercing
a smoke ring, casual,inquistive,

but then the sun will come out
or the phone will ring
and I will cease to wonder

if it is one thing,
a large ball of air and memory,
or many things,
a string of small farming towns,
a dark road winding through them.

Let us say it is a field
I have been hoeing every day,
hoeing and singing,
then going to sleep in one of its furrows,

or now that it is more than half over,
a partially open door,
rain dripping from the eaves.

Like yours, it could be anything,
a nest with one egg,
a hallway that leads to a thousand rooms--
whatever happens to float into view
when I close my eyes

or look out a window
for more than a few minutes,
so that some days I think
it must be everything and nothing at once.

But this morning, sitting up in bed,
wearing my black sweater and my glasses,
the curtains drawn and the windows up,

I am a lake,my poem the empty boat,
and my life is the breeze that blows
through the whole scene

Stirring everything it touches__
the surface of the water, the limp sail,
even the heavy, leafy trees along the shore.

I want to thank each of you who visit here and all those who commented on my last post. I am so grateful for your kind words and taking the time to visit here.

I encourage you to visit my Photography links in the sidebar these photographers are all great. I also have a new post up at the Mermaids Bookshelf(link in sidebar) . This is also an interesting link and one I think I might do myself it is Diego Time .


Sandy Carlson said...

This is a beautiful post. Billy Collins is a marvelous poet. He's from the Westchester side of CT and my other favorite, Mary Oliver, is from the Cape Cod side.

Treat yourself to recorded Collins. He reads his stuff beautifully.

Thanks for sharing this one.

By the way, Andree is handling the techie side of One Single Impression, so she'll get back to you about the images. Thanks for asking, and thanks for your support!

Yolanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
yertle said...

Thanks. This is poem is really great. I have not read Billy Collins before.

storyteller said...

I'm unfamiliar with this poet but I appreciate the introduction. This poem is amazing ... as is the flower photo & information. I was surprised by 3 purple irises blooming suddenly in my front yard yesterday as the rainy weather turned warm abruptly. Spring has come to Southern California.
Hugs and blessings,

Carver said...

I'm so glad you are getting some signs of spring where you live. Lovely photograph. I thought the poem was an excellent choice too.

Mrs. G. said...

I heart Billy Collins.

Mary Isabella said...

I have never seen a flower like that before. I wonder if you could grow it in Ky. and where you would get the bulbs. I want to thank-you for sharing this beautiful poem with us. It is snowing here tonight.No Spring for us yet...Mary

Karen said...

What a wonderful poem and photo (why, WHY is it called "skunk cabbage"--much too beautiful)...thank you for sharing.

Teeny Poet said...

I think that was a beautiful poem that expressed your life through nature which I think is awesome. Peace

Just Joni said...

I always enjoy the poems of Billy Collins, this one is one of my favorites. Your blog is always so sweet Yolanda and like you I am appreciating the showing of spring...she is so welcome right now.
Have a good day ~

Judy Merrill-Smith said...

I find myself scrutinizing the ground for any sign of spring these days. Oh, I get so excited to see little green shoots of snowdrops and crocuses! That skunk cabbage photo is lovely.

meggie said...

I too, am curious about the 'Skunk Cabbage' Does that open up, or does it remain closed looking? I have never heard of, or seen them before.

Thankyou for the poem, it is beautiful.

Rachel said...

Wonderful poem Yolanda!!

I have heard of skunk cabbage but don't know that I've ever seen it in person, and if I did I didn't know what it was! It is lovely!!

ladybug said...


I got my book today! I'm so excited...(I'm like a little kid around a new book) :)

Thank you too for your sweet note that you enclosed with it...that meant so very much to me as well!

YAY! Spring IS in the air...and as much as I've been enjoying Winter, I'm so looking forward to seeing things burst forth through their buds and turn the world into the bright beautiful 1000s shades of green.

Shelby said...

I hadn't heard about the 'Skunk Cabbage' .. do tell, does that open up?

I'm so ready for Spring...

Journey Through Life said...

And I'm excited about seeing the first of the winter bulbs begin to poke their heads through the ground. I've had my first lilly come through this week!!

Journey Through Life said...

PS. Gorgeous photo!!

Sarah said...

How can something so pretty be called a skunk cabbage?

Paula said...

Beautiful poem. I have always liked poems but don't seem to read them often anymore. I recently picked up two very old poem books at an estate sale. You make me want to dig in to them further.

I was excited the other day when I saw skunk cabbage growing. A sure sign of spring. We lived in Alaska when I was young and it was even more plentiful than here on the coast. Might seem weird, but I like the smell of it. Brings back memories of carefree days playing in the woods...

The Urban Chic said...

Yolanda, please come by my blog and e-mail me your info and mailing address so I can do my Pay it Forward. Hugs, Pat

Marg said...

Thanks for sharing that poem. It gives me a deeper reflection of your life.
It's always encouraging to see how others' view themselves at various stages of life.

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a beautiful poem, I love the bud coming up i can't wait to see some beautiful spring colors

Inland Empire Girl said...

I am eager to see Skunk Cabbage soon in the ponds up the road. This is a favorite of mine by Billy Collins also!

Dick said...

Beautiful photo and poet, I really like it.

Love Bears All Things said...

I love the poem and I am going to copy it into my journal.
In the photo, I noticed the moss on the tree limb and thought it was so pretty.
Mama Bear