Tuesday, October 5, 2021

October Light


October Light

 Many things 
are called lilies
which are not, yet these are,
still lilies
by October light
these graceless stalks
brown shriveled sticks
reaching dead hands
for the gone
 summer sky.
Time has burned them
the dry wheat's color,
taken their sundance of petals
scarlet and gold
yellow as morning,
even the memory of
that feasting scent
drunked the bees.
Still lilies grow  
for October 
is the cup earth has made
 for midsummer's wine.
Seeds and stem
bulb and root, burnt or bright,

still lilies, alive by October light,
out of sight, and it's best you know
for pulling hands
kill what they sow.

October 2021

posted for Sherry Blue Sky's
Collateral Beauty at earthweal

Note: While it may look "messy," leaving the ground undisturbed in fall and the dead stalks of lilies and other flowering plants in the garden during winter is important in providing habitat for beneficial insects and certain pollinators like miner bees,which overwinter in the stems. See  Fine Gardening's Provide A Winter Home For Beneficial Insects  and Nesting and Overwintering Habitat for Pollinators: "While flowering plants provide pollinators with food, insects also require suitable shelter for nesting and overwintering. Most bees and wasps create small nests beneath the soil or within dead plant stems or cavities in wood."
Photos ©joyannjones,  2021


  1. I adore the feasting scent that drunked the bees, and October's cup for midsummer wine. (Tell the truth...dud your fingers want to type "Midsomer", Ms. Mystery Fan?) I also love your photographs, but you know I always do.

  2. Replies
    1. It was tempting. ;_) Thanks, Shay. And don't rake those leaves. :_)

  3. I love that you leave the dead stuff for habitat. Love "October is the cup for midsummer's wine". And those closing lines are especially perfect. So glad you wrote to my prompt, Joy. I have done two positive prompts in a row. I was saying to Brendan people will think I fell and hurt my head. LOL.

    1. No falls for us older ones, Sherry--and this was a particularly clear-headed prompt in my book. Thanks.

  4. Still lilies aren't for the Instagram feed, but that's the point: life in fullness depends upon October light on wan stems and the eye which celebrates them by pulling not. A regeneration poem to dance with rot, skulls grinning. Amen.

    1. Yes, there's a very All Hallows feel to October light on dry dead skeletal plant-hands. ;_) Thanks, B.

  5. What a beautiful poem about the beauty within a dying plant. I’m planning to try flower gardening soon. Thank you for my first valuable lesson.

  6. I wish lilies lasted longer. In the summer those tiger lilies roar in the sunlight. I often see people pulling them up once they have turned brown. I know they are good for insulation protecting the plants so they can be reborn next spring. You have found beauty and light in a time of decay.

    1. Truedessa, I'm unable to visit your blog. I get a message that it is for invited members only. Sorry.

  7. Shoot! I didn't know, and cut the stems of mine off. Now I know better. Lovely poem, and sentiment. I love the autumn you write so beautifully about.

  8. Your poem shows true respect for the cycles of nature and even manages to find beauty in amidst all the death and desolation. Nicely done!

  9. Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

  10. The beauty of the circle of life...so often we try to erase it.

  11. I had to say this is gorgeous. Wow. Hope you are well.

  12. my sister will enjoy this. she is a professional landscaper, and has been diligent in promoting native plants. the final lines are a fantastic observation, and clear-eyed look at what makes us, us. we grow so we can kill - so we can feed. ~

  13. Flowers of Dorain Gray. what a great tag and concept.

    and the closing lines , spoken as a true gardener, you ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats