The Legend of Antirrhinum

NaPoWriMo Day 5: April is a time for planting things. At any rate, I’ve recently been paging through seed catalogs, many of which feature “heirloom” seeds with fabulous names. Consider the “Old Ivory Egg” tomato, the “Ozark Razorback” or “Fast Lady” cow-pea, “Neal’s Paymaster” dent corn, or the “Tongues of Fire” bush bean. Today, I challenge you to spend some time looking at the names of heirloom plants, and write a poem that takes its inspiration from, or incorporates the name of, one or more of these garden rarities. To help you out, here are links to the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and the Baker Creek Seed Company. Also, here’s a hint – tomatoes seem to be prime territory for elaborate names. And who knows, maybe you’ll even find something to plant in your garden! Happy writing!

She knows all too well this reeling
A witness to the moment they sparked
He doesn’t see that she’s aware
He only feels torn, uncertain

He knows the hand he’s dealing
Every time he goes out into the dark
She doesn’t see him go anywhere
But she’s familiar with this leaving

She knows his attempt at concealing
Avoiding what to her appears stark
He doesn’t see his heart’s lain bare
His Antirrhinum exterior – fascinating

~Just L (April 5, 2016)

Snapdragon (Antirrhinum) is derived from the Greek words “anti,” meaning like, and “rhin,” meaning nose, antirrhinum, the snapdragon’s botanical name, is a fitting description of this snout-shaped flower. It’s said that the common name for this colorful flower comes from the snap it makes when the sides of the “dragon’s mouth” are gently squeezed.

Legend has it that concealing a snapdragon makes a person appear fascinating and cordial, and in the language of flowers, snapdragons are said to represent both deception and presumption (perhaps tied to the notion of concealment). Its positive connotations include graciousness and strength.


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