Wildflowers at Tully Lake

close up shot of plants

Along the lakeshore’s forest trail,

with birdsong as company.

I find the bright white of bunchberry

illumining the dim floor,

though small and simple in construct and color

reveal elegance of form to my eye

with repetition of a favored number:

four gently curved petal-like bracts

surrounded by four deeply veined leaves

together fashion rings of white and green

around a lackluster cluster

of minute flowers.

My step enlivened, I move on,

see that starflowers have started to wane,

their points withering from decay, 

while aster bulbs of Canada mayflower

engulf the forest floor with

thousands of tiny white flames.

The trail soon wends along a stream

where pink of meadow beauty

colors the banks. I dip my nose down

to blossoms with scent

reminiscent of honeysuckle,

sweeter even than roses, so I linger,

receive the aromatic gift

that lifts in the breeze,

remain at the water’s edge

my seat, a stone, 

my cushion, wet moss,

and remember how I long to see

lady’s slipper

that thrives in acidic soil

with mycorrhizae, its ally,

and often in the company of

starflowers. So I turn from the water

look uphill into pine woodland,

see a ring of pink moccasins 

around an enormous white pine

as if in ritual gathering

honoring a mother tree,

as from beyond, the tinkling lute

of a hermit thrush calls me home

to the spring woods.

Poem by Roxanne Bogart

Roxanne E. Bogart is a wildlife biologist and writer, whose poems have appeared in The Tiny Seed Literary Journal, The Burlington Poetry Journal, The Silkworm, and Poetry Quarterly. Her illustrated full-length book of poetry entitled All That Sustains was published in September 2022 and available through Off The Common Books or her website roxannebogart.com. She spends her personal time hiking in the woods and meadows of Western Massachusetts, where she gathers inspiration and momentum for her writing. She is a member of the International League of Conservation Writers, the Academy of American Poets, and the Florence Poets Society, and lives in Amherst, MA with her family. Find out more about Roxanne Bogart at roxannebogart.com