I have found that the most ordinary of plants, often times weeds, create some of the most beautiful pieces in my collections. One such botanical that has always shown interesting shapes and textures is Queen Anne’s Lace. It is found on the roadside, along trails and in fields. Queen Anne’s Lace earned its common name from a story that tells of Queen Anne of England pricking her finger and a drop of blood landing on the white lace she was sewing. Early Europeans cultivated Queen Anne’s lace, and the Romans ate it as a vegetable. American colonists boiled the taproots, savoring its high sugar content. To celebrate this beautiful flower, which is in full bloom this July, I offer a piece from one of my favorite poets.
Her body is not so white as
anemony petals nor so smooth—nor
so remote a thing. It is a field
of the wild carrot taking
the field by force; the grass
does not raise above it.
Here is no question of whiteness,
white as can be, with a purple mole
at the center of each flower.
Each flower is a hand’s span
of her whiteness. Wherever
his hand has lain there is
a tiny purple blemish. Each part
is a blossom under his touch
to which the fibres of her being
stem one by one, each to its end,
until the whole field is a
white desire, empty, a single stem,
a cluster, flower by flower,
a pious wish to whiteness gone over—