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The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
P. O. Box 3793
Minneapolis MN 55403

Poet's Corner

Purple Trillium Rosin Weed Wild Grape

“Each day, clear, cloudy, or stormy, and each season has its charm, if our eyes are opened to see it.” Eloise Butler

The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden has inspired our poets to craft these verses reminding us of the beauty of life and to take time to see the works of nature. Poets works are arranged chronologically by approximate publication date, newest to oldest.

Our Poets

From Martha Crone’s notebook

We begin with and give this much older poem top billing simply due to Eloise Butler's influence on all those that follow. This poem was found in Martha Crone's personal notebook and was obviously written just after Eloise Butler's death in 1933 as a tribute to her. (Martha Crone Papers, Minnesota Historical Society.)

Eloise Butler

Dust we are, and now to dust again
But gently blown throughout the glen
Which was your alter and your shrine
Wherein you gave a life of tenderness all thine
In every nook your footsteps trod
The plants you loved belong to God
And in his keeping they are ours
The trees, the shrubs, the blessed flowers
And still your soul, on guard, will stand
Against the touch of vandal hand.

Bonnie Fisher

A Catechism of Prairie Flowers

Why are we here?
chorused Common Dogbane.

To give purpose to Sun and Rain
explained Sage.

Who made us?
Asked Black-eyed Susan.

I came from a seed dropped
by Bird

replied Stiff Tickseed.

Why in this arid place?
complained Blue Vetch.

Because we’re tough
uttered Leadplant.

We can go days without water
Mountain Mint added.

And grow right through rock
Ground Cherry chimed in

So Quartzite won’t be lonely
chanted romantic Rose.

For the butterflies
said Butterfly Weed.

Well why are there butterflies
asked cynical Feverfew.

They’re someone’s prayers
answered Gray-headed Cone Flower.

Why is Someone here?
Common Dogbane spoke again.

To give purpose to Sun and Rain
Sage explained patiently

— for Mary after our trip to Jeffers Petroglyphs

As published in the Fringed Gentian™, Vol 56-3, Summer 2008. Bonnie Fisher writes poetry from her back porch under an old basswood among various wild flowers and an occasional coyote and groundhog.

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Phoebe Waugh

A Year’s Color Wheel
I watch the change from winter’s
stark architecture to jewels
of yellow, green pink and white;
showers of seeds, trees blooming
into full leaf; morning shade
cool in summer and fading
as its tender, raw youth flees;
showing the amber, rust, scarlet
of fall; before returning
to winter’s simple beauty.

As published in the Fringed Gentian™, Winter 2008, Vol. 56 #1. Phoebe Waugh is a member of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.

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Vi LaBelle

Within the Garden Gate
The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
gives hope, inspiration and cheer,
with Nature’s splendor all around
to see and touch and hear.

The Garden is a sanctuary
for the many birds we see;
we hear throughout the woodland
their song and melody.

And if the winds are not so gentle
nor the sky as blue and fair,
our spirit is uplifted as
blossom fragrace fills the air.

No matter how downhearted
and discouraged we may be,
new hope is born when we behold
leaves building on a tree.

Or when we see the wildflowers
push their heads up through the sod,
and open wide in glad surprise
their petaled eyes to God.

So we honor the Friends of the Garden
for your work and love help create
a garden filled with beauty
within the Garden gate.

As published in "50 Years of Friends", April 2002. Vi LaBelle is a member of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc.

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Lon Miller

fall equinox
ah people
it is the time of year
to bury fruit in pine coffins
and dance with its pressed vine
make love to pears high up in the hills
wrap your heart in loaves of moss
and digest boulders in your veins
people do this now
and you will know to what roses bow
blackened and curled in the frost

i stand in the wind a lot
as through this valley
there’s a wind within me
wearing away my skin

nearly i am range wind
and magpie feathers
bromegrass sun
and the hooves of cattle
nearly i am the weight of canyons
almost a pellicle of river mist

i stand in the wind a lot
make the sound of telephone wires
and clouds caught in mountain passes

maybe this breath
may be the next chinook

i stand in the wind a lot

a warm day in October
a warm day in October
‘the wasps thaw
but not enough
to dangle their
thin red legs
in the sky.

i press my ear
i press my ear
to where the snow geese
lay through night

joy spreads in the grasses

something a whale might hum
befoe dancing with the swamp reeds
or the reason
the last ice age
learned to fly

what we know cannot keep us alive
nor do we survive one moment to rest in the next
forgive me
when these words came to me
i wanted to walk far back into the woods
lie down by the muskrat's pond
and let trillium grow through my back.

In the Fringed Gentian™, "fall equinox" was published Fall 2000, Vol. 48, #4. "trillium" was published Aug. 1985, Vol. 35 #3. "i stand in the wind" was published posthumously Summer 2006, Vol. 54, #3. "a warm day in October" and "i press my ear", were both published in "From The Friends to Friends", 1995. Lon Miller was a member of the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. who passed away in 2004.

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Betty Bridgman

A Nut, A Squirrel
The park, the sky oak-swept and gray,
Leaves hit the path and blow my way.
there sits a squirrel, sleek and taut,
handling a far too heavy thought,

handling an acorn it has found
after intensive search around.
I watch, and now I can envision
the awesomeness of small decision.

The nut-sweet cupful at its nose,
lifted like chalice in two paws,
could in ten nibbles be devoured--
or should it prudently be stored?

I stand here helpless to decide
if appetite should be denied.
A squirrel must weigh rewarded search
against the white months up to March.

If new to winter, nevertheless
the creature is obliged to guess
snow-depth by thickness of its coat,
send nut down h0llow tree, or throat.

Wisdom perhaps was recommending
the nut for saving, not for spending.
The squirrel decided it was not,
and at the acorn on the spot.

Winter ahead will not be hard!
I walk light-hearted winterward.

First Night of Frost
There will be frost tonight. The air is scant.
The blanket of our atmosphere wears thin.
And marigolds that we were late to plant
Are crowded by our windows, staring in.
Come help me cover them. They may not last
After a windless night when boughs are bare,
Acorns are gathered, equinox is past,
And rising in the east, autumn's Great Square.

Outside, the dark is spicy with their scent
And cold dew falling. Come - This is our chance
To save the only gold that was not spent
Before the white invader’s first advance.
Bring shawls and shield their petals carefully
From constellations they weren't meant to see.

A Word for box Elder
Strange you should not have heard of my tree, box elder.
Weed of the prairie, worthless, and worse it’s called.
Seedling one summer, next summer way over your shoulder.
Whenever I see one, I’m up in it, ten years old.

Pioneers planted it, needing shade in a hurry.
Brown furrowed bark, profusion of three-leaf twigs,
Blanking the farmhouse for wind to lash with fury,
Shelter for squirrel chipmunk, flicker eggs.

Soon they complained of trees that outnumbered people.
Autumns, their seed like propellers went widely blown,
Profligate, common, assertive, poor cousin to maple --
They were expendable after the elms had grown,

Still in my childhood home we were rich in these.
Always I’ll speak a word for box elder trees

In the Fringed Gentian™, "First Night of Frost" was published Fall 1999, Vol. 50, #3 and "A Nut" and "A Word for Box Elder" were both published Winter 1998, Vol. 49, #3.

Betty Bridgman also wrote two long works which you can read on these links: Poem on the Dedication of the Martha Crone Shelter on May 13, 1970 and Ode to The Friends on their 30th Anniversary and on the 75th Anniversary of the Wildflower Garden.

Betty Bridgman was a long-time member of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. She was a Board member and also editor of the Fringed Gentian™ from June 1982 to June 1990. She passed away in July 1999 (b. 1916).

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Jack Lynch

On Purple Bees and Poppies
Purple bees are in the garden.
The poppies are in bloom.
It’s springtime!
Poppy intoxication has colored these bees-
Intoxication in the sense that the bees are lured by the stunning flowers
And, in the pollen-prancing frenzy,
Become purple-dusted as they swirl in and our of the centers of the orange-red blossoms.

Poppies attract humans too,
In breathless admiration.
These plants are the stars of the garden and
Seem to outshine other blooms during their brief bursting forth.
Yet, poppies are among the plants we would misuse or destroy,
Despite their beauty and medicinal benefits.
It is humans who decide if poppies will provide aesthetics, anesthetics or addiction.

Let the poppy opiate me only with its colored splendor.
I would that its brilliance were not so brief.
How glorious we humans would be if,
Like the poppy, we emanated beauty despite such short-lived flowering.
Better to glow briefly than to live for scores in dullness.
The human race now rushes to destroy
Such plant life that can cure so many of our ills.

We clutch at immediate needs in destruction of future needs.
Who legislates or governs to help save bio-diversity,
A diversity that one day can same us?
What strange creatures are humans who would destroy
their own salvation, spiritually and materially.
We are last to come and will be first to go.

Humans are but a wisp of dust in the finite world.

As published in the Fringed Gentian™, Spring 1999, Vol. 50, #1. Jack Lynch was a long-time member of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. He passed away in March 1999.

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Preben Mosborg

The Birding of Spring
Who does not take flight
A heart aflutter
In the bloodroots rise
From wings of clay?

Spring Break
Breaks down fences
With every garden
In its neighbor’s cup
Of giddy waters
In reflecting pools at last.

Morning at Eloise Butler Wild Flower Garden
Morning begins
The sky defined
A borderless, edgeless wash
Luminescent as watercolors
From which
The earthbound
Are dropped like a stone.

Yet here are the roots
Green sustained
Without a ripple
A garden
Tucked in like a dimple
Extracting reverence
As if temporarily removed
From under glass.

There are no bleachers here
But benches
Benches set at infinity
Like country churches
Dockets of calm
Steeped in essence
Spare and spacious
As an Amish Schoolhouse.

It’s a garden born free
The faintest drone
Of the commerce of sound

Weeds lean against weeds
A weed free society
A space not called upon
Its measure its being.

Its truth
Having set seed
When all was ocean.

As published in the Fringed Gentian™: "Spring Break" and "The Birding of Spring" were both published Summer 1997, Vol. 48, #2. "Morning at Eloise Butler" was published Summer 1995, Vol. 45, #2. Preben Mosborg was a member of The Friends of the Wild Flower Garden, Inc. from 1997 till his death in 2012.

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Terri Curtis

The Wildflower
If I were a flower, would I be free? Would I be loved?
Does a flower’s breeding into domestication make it any less loved? or any less wild?
If I were a wildflower, I would know I was loved when my fragrance was inhaled.
I would know I was loved when watered, or blessed with light.
But who loves the multitudes of wildflowers that are free?
Free from forced mass reproduction and cross pollination, yet slave to the wind that could scatter you miles.
If I were a flower, it wouldn’t matter what kind, they were all wild at one time.
From lavender to Virginia waterleaf, from bloodroot to lady slippers, from tulips to orchids, they are all loved.
Only still we long for the chance to own their beauty and bear their fragrance.
Only still we long to grow free and be loved.

As published in the Fringed Gentian™, Fall 1995, Vol. 45, #3.

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Mavis Frankson

Wild & Untamed
Wildflower, she is so aptly named,
A Flower so wild and untamed.

The breeze sassily bounces her pretty head,
Defying you to keep her in your bed.
She’s definitely not a high society queen,
But her delicate beauty can be easily seen.

Welcoming pollinators in her velvet folds,
She knows not what the future holds.
Standing enticingly on the roadside,
She’ll go along just for the ride.

She has an insatiable wandering lust,
She’ll take a chance and go for bust,
Scattering her seeds where they may
Sprout, then stretch to the light of day.

She’s a flower so wild and untamed,
Call her wildflower, she is aptly named.

As published in the Fringed Gentian™, Fall 1995, Vol. 45, #3.

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If you have a poem the reflects on the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden or its natural components and would like to see it published on this website, please submit it via our email link on the "contact us" page. Our editor must however review and approve any submission.