Bee Orchid

Michael Longley


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 this connoisseur’s

Restrained aria among the prickles.


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