Poetically speaking, growing up is mediocrity
– Ned Rorem

Neither rosy nor prim
not cousin to the cowslip
nor the extravagant fuchsia-
I doubt anyone has ever
picked one for show,
though the woods must be fringed
with their lemony effusions.

Sun blathers its baronial
endorsement, but they refuse
to join the ranks. Summer
brings them in armfuls,
yet, when the day is large,
you won’t see them fluttering
the length of the road.

They’ll wait until the world’s
tucked in and the sky’s
one ceaseless shimmer-then
lift their saturated eyelids
and blaze, blaze
all night long
for  no one.

 

Excerpted from Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry