A Flower by Any Other Name

beautiful marsh orchid purple flowers
The folklore of flowers
opens the curtain on days long past.
The ‘Marsh Marigold’ sounds fine
in the annals of Botany.
But this lover of wet soil
sounds more familiar as
‘Molly Blobs’ or even ‘Water Boots’.

The purple, curly- topped Scabious-
a lover of the wetlands,
a cure for many ailments-
was named ‘Devils Bit’
as Satan bit off its roots
in fury at its curative powers.

The delicate pink ‘Cuckoo Flower’,
spread along river banks
and water meadows,
is so named because its flowering
marks the arrival
of the bird in spring.

In some places it becomes
‘Ladies Smock’ or ‘Milkmaids’
conjuring up images
of young girls with their milk pails,
among the rich grass of the river meadows.
Latin names are fine
but how magical
are the names of the past.

Sarah Das Gupta

Sarah Das Gupta is a retired teacher living near Cambridge, UK. She has also lived and worked in Kolkata and in Tanzania. She began writing 6 months ago while in hospital, recovering from an accident. Her work has been published in over 40 magazines including; 'Tiny Seed', 'Dipity', 'Rural Fiction', 'Pure Haiku', 'Green Ink', 'Waywords', 'Shalott', American Readers Review', 'Moonlit Path' and 'Parcham'. Her interests include plants, nature, animals, history and music.