I was struck by the leafy beauty of the Angelica tree [1] which I came across at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Virginia half of Assateague Island that we visited recently.

The trunk and petioles bear spines, a stem modification in defence from foragers, that makes it also quite deer resistant. The spines also gave it the common name of ‘devil’s walking stick’ or ‘prickly ash’.

Here below, is a botanical poem.

[The Angelica tree can reach a height of 15 m (about 50 feet). Its leaves are large, with leaflets arranged feather-fashion and often prickly. (Encyclopaedia Britannica)]

The poem is based on the Vessel and the structures around it. The Vessel, that looks like a beehive, is an interactive artwork in New York City, that was imagined by Thomas Heatherwick and Heatherwick Studio. It is Comprised of 154 intricately interconnecting flights of stairs, almost 2,500 individual steps and 80 landings [1]

The soul must be a tuning fork, 
for the pandemic flit past in a vibration.
Then all is still when the light gets the eyes
and the heart can define radiance,
simply in the clarity of lines and form.

The poetry of pathos is an epic elegy,
and of happiness…

The fifth of June has been designated as World Environment Day by the United Nations. Today, in fact, will inaugurate the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021–2030), a global mission to revive billions of hectares, from forests to farmlands, from the top of mountains to the depth of the sea [1]. Pakistan is the host country this year for the official celebrations. As we are aware, the protection of the environment and its restoration is of utmost importance given the damage to our environment. …

Plants differ in the way they survive and thrive across varied temperatures; a very harsh sun and lack of water begets leaves modified into spines (Cacti) or the retreating tenderness of succulents (Euphorbia), a lack of sun and locked winter water spawn needles (Gymnosperms) or simply a flat existence (lichen). Yet, lichens, Cacti and Pines can thrive in very many places other than these extreme conditions, although they require an environment which is amenable to the modifications of their plant body. There is a lesson in the 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, which is the standard by which gardeners…

This post was written for the North Atlantic Right Whale, of which sadly, only 360 remain. As per NOAA, “ The North Atlantic right whale is one of the world’s most endangered large whale species, with less than 400 individuals remaining — — Whaling is no longer a threat, but human interactions still present the greatest danger to this species. Entanglement in fishing gear and vessel strikes are the leading causes of North Atlantic right whale mortality. …

I wrote this poem in response to a prompt by a fellow Instagrammer, to write about an animal or wildlife. I chose the wild in the microbial.

I drew this after eons, in a spell of inspiration
Blepharisma, Vorticella, Cyanobacteria / blue-green algae, Stentor and Volvox feature in the poem today, inspired that I am by the antics of these organisms in the work of another instagrammer. In her microbial world, microbes dance to strange rhythms, cannibalize, reproduce, scavenge, lay eggs, moult, become anxious, sometimes just sidle up to each other or simply float. Find the photos on Instagram.


It was in the Ruaha region of Tanzania that a Maasai woman kindly agreed to pose for a photograph. I do not recollect her name now but in every photo, she appeared to be in shy contemplation. Here is one in which she leans against the baobob, while adorned in the collar jewellery that the Maasai are also known for. I wrote a poem for her, to her graceful beauty; serenely contemplative she appears.

Whispers I sent out to dawn latched 
on to the solitary sun to trail
the arc of a common time
in a sky the hue of gold…

The Devil’s Bedroom at Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya; photo, my own

Anything can trigger a poem, this one dominoed into Hell’s Gate Park in Kenya. Down below, a random photo I took inside, a few years earlier. It was strange, there was hardly anyone there that day, except the hot sun and a tiny array of grassland herbivores.

And the knowledge of the hedgerow plant, I found embedded in leaf veins … like in mine, etched along blue lines of a notebook. In the ripples on the remnants of water that pooled, before the mudflats claimed them are the striations of ol’butot near Naivasha. …

A lonesome threshold,
yesterday was light as confetti / from a wedding that
bled in thirty litres of martyred roses / How long are
three hundred steps from a church, to stucco walls
the colour of sorrow?

Soil, the tint of blood,
ichor of mountain Gods, deveined for lost embrace
of roots / Wind whistling away regrets in the dust of
liberated souls / Would it sing for her, embalmed
in the bowels of earth’s sanguine hum?

April heat, weighted with a dirge
of tears salted in ocean / rusting the trumpet
and violin strings / Who will tune the piano for…

Cornrows forge a rhythm to the sun
and self love feels like a line dance.
A shake of tassels and silks that
unfurl in the nick of time.

Love flowers on a stalk, above, below.
The wind sweeps in an airy betrothal,
a surge and then a sway, sashay,
a whirl in the nick of time.

Pollen, sparkles, pixel burst.
How do the ears of corn know,
to listen to the wind holler,
to twirl in the nick of time.

In a Caryopsis, a synopsis
of self seducing passions,
crushed to cornmeal. Floury
swirl in the nick of time.


Davina E. Solomon

Poet, writer and educator who likes having spirited conversations in five languages, having made six countries her home on four continents. She loves gardening.

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