A Maine August Bouquet

                                                for Georgiana  

In a Buffalo night’s phosphorous
flowers I called by name
in the attention of summer light
return, like hard candy in a
clenched bag on Halloween  

chocolate chip, ginger snap, jujube,
nibs, good and plenty, flowers
have names like this.  

And most flowers are good to eat  

or dried and boiled they’ll wean
the body form some mistake.



The first time I ever saw yarrow
I’d already drunk its pungent
broth to soothe my throat,
but I couldn’t know that these
tiny freckles had such a taste.


does, I am sure
dried and left to hang
brightly in the minds
of those who have looked at you
as I have looked at you today.

All by yourself you have made my mind
that mud you grow upon
and pressed your umbrel of purple, pink
thousands of stars
into me, making me rock
- a lithograph of you –



I want to go into the jewel weed’s
small conch, but I am afraid.
Someone is blowing on its
hot carbon –
touch me not.


When the tiny white stars of the bedstraw
stick by their tendrils to the legs
of my pants, they are telling me
that could I amass enough to make a mat
for my love and I, we could float entwined
in galaxies

but there are only a few clumps.



The turtleheads are dead
in spite of their appearance as blossoms
on green plants.
Is there no one to wash the dead?
The rain has tried and failed.


The Canada lily hangs
so that to look into it you must
go near the ground and see
the open blue sky behind
lustering the inside cone
like a girl’s open mouth
catching light on wet sides
that bathe in diffuse light
a long delicate tongue.



Evening primrose
is not prim at all
though the English
fence it in their gardens.

At home here
you lean your scraggly yellow heads
in both sides of the dirt road
as I drive home
before dark.

Your brightness opens
to the semi darkness
as it opens to me.

You are so friendly
that, if I were hungry
I would eat your roots.



I mistook the mullein
for one of your children
but he grows out of himself
more elaborately
spike after spike
through spike
each to droop
                        a leaf
until the petals bulge
curled secret and obscene
between the ever smaller leaves

then one at a time
they burst
like some delicious
orgasm of the earth
each a perfect innocent pansy like flower.

Can we wonder that
the Penobscot
would drag the smoke of your leaves
drag those spikes
drag swirl of smoke leaves
growing inward
into lungs
seized in a tight spasm of asthma
to open there
your sweet release.


Some frock coated puritan
must have named devil’s paintbrush
which I pray
muzzle me
in its orange and yellow fuzz

Perhaps that same puritan
brought heal all
which, with its purple
intricate smallness might
spare its name
to stand for all flowers.



through the latin to


every month of the summer
new species

blood of the steeplebush
flooding the late meadow

sign not so much
                        of health
or even potency

as of our mutual

© Bill Jungels

      published in Rapport, 1976

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