Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Wild Iris In Our Pasture

This beautiful gift of grace was growing in our pasture as I walked with the dogs and horses today. One of the first signs of spring here in the Pacific Northwest; the Grass Widow (Olsynium douglasii) is a member of the Iris family and the sole representative of its genus in the United States.

Every year we find it blooming in late March and early April. Hopefully, it's not toxic to horses.

Here's a poem in its honor from one of my favorite poets:

The Wild Iris

by Louise Gluck

At the end of my suffering
there was a door.

Hear me out: that which you call death
I remember.

Overhead, noises, branches of the pine shifting.
Then nothing. The weak sun
flickered over the dry surface.

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again: whatever
returns from oblivion returns
to find a voice:

from the center of my life came
a great fountain, deep blue
shadows on azure seawater.


  1. What a gorgeous flower. We end up with fields of Wild Irises here in the Rockies...always my favorite time of year. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a nice find. It looks like the Iris is just pushing winter aside and announcing it is time for the flowers to take over. Beautiful poem.

  3. Lovely flower, and a welcome sight, I'm sure. The poem sure puts a different perspective on the life of a flower!

  4. What a beautiful poem to accompany a gorgeous flower that I have never seen before. Lovely photos.

  5. Sue--I would love to see fields of these irises. It must be beautiful this time of year.

  6. OUAE--I agree. It's as if the iris is standing up against the clouds and drawing a line in the sand--Spring on one side--Winter on the other.

  7. Shirley--I love the poem--and especially this line: "whatever returns from oblivion returns
    to find a voice". A perfect flower for it since the wild iris dares to come up against the cold, blistery early spring days.

  8. Jennifer--I'm surprised you've never seen it before. Maybe you can start some in your beautiful garden.

  9. That is so pretty, and I love that it's a wildflower. It's like an extra-special spring gift!

  10. smazourek--I agree. It's prettier than anything growing out there right now. It beat my crocuses and daffodils to the bloom.

  11. how pretty and so different than what we have around here. lovely poem...really liked it!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.