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Wake Forest
University Press

Wake Forest University Press

Dedicated to Irish Poetry

Wake: Up to Poetry

"The act of poetry is a rebel act."

Poem of the Week: “Bee Orchid” by Michael Longley

The weather in Winston-Salem today is beautiful. It’s warm and breezy, and one can in indulge in tricking him- or herself into believing that spring has come early on this fine day. Hoping to encourage this weather to stay (please!), we’ve chosen a poem from Michael Longley’s A Hundred Doors, wherein the imagery inspires visions of lazy spring days and childhood adventures so vivid that you can almost feel the sunshine. Enjoy!

Bee Orchid

We returned to the Byzantine path’s
Camomile-strewn marble pavement
And dusty oregano to look again,
Before the snails, for the bee orchid.
Pollineum like a brain, the brainy
Bumble-bee disguise. On our knees
Among wild garlic, almost at prayer,
We forgot about adder and lizard,

And nearly missed in a juniper
The blackcap’s jet black. We waited
And waited for his connoisseur’s
Restrained aria among the prickles.

Michael Longley, from A Hundred Doors (2011)

Categories: Michael Longley, Poem of the WeekTags:


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