A poetry collection that considers the splendor and significance of wildflowers.
Lilly’s previous book (A Prism of Wings, 2013, etc.) was a collection of haiku on butterflies. Here, the poet focuses on wildflowers with the same attention to detail that made her last collection a success. Lilly has also published additional books of poetry and two books on philosophy. In the introduction, she explains that she suffers from depression, but in wildflowers, she was able to find a consistent, lovely thing to look for everywhere, to focus and ruminate on, in order to find beauty in life and some sense of peace. This explanation enhances her work. The collection includes more than 100 haiku, each marked with a number in a sketched wildflower. In a few words, Lilly captures the minute details and extraordinariness of the flowers, as well as how they point to expansive internal and external truths: “The sheer drop—on rock / face below, meadow rue still / blooms; I’m not too late” and in another, “Intense grief dissolves / to numbness, longing: too small / to witness—miterwort.” Her metaphors could have been clichéd, but the poet adds her own satisfying, observant twist; e.g., “Pass to essence from / the personal wood sorrel’s / dark pink-veined petals.” Her attention to detail is obvious in her diction and her consideration of the reader; she helpfully notes the type of flower she is considering in every poem. In addition, the supplemental material adds interest: Plates with colored sketches of various wildflowers appear in the middle of the book, and the backmatter includes the scientific and folkloric significance of all the mentioned blooms. The time and care that went into this notable collection is clear.
Muses on small natural objects but produces big ideas.