On an Okra Flower


A pollinating wasp sliding

from white lip to purple darkness, 

the shadow-heart so deep inside,

the plant, itself, tall African

in the kitchen garden’s last row,

speaks of passage and endurance,

those far too common abstractions,

made real here in the summer heat.

Let it lead us, serve as a guide,

tell how each struggle leads to bliss

and what to bless when we decide

to see the past and present blend

into what we need to know

—a mind aware or in a trance?—

what to keep close, what to shun,

made real here in the summer heat.

What song can a wasp sing gliding

the flower’s dark throat? A long kiss

like winged tongues tangled deep inside—

a blind passion, an obsession.

I hear it as a prayer now,

music for the world’s whirling dance.

Sound, sight and scent. An orison

made real here in the summer heat.

— Paul Jones

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