Poetry Friday: A Favorite Plant

The seed catalogs have been pouring in since January, and lately, I’ve been spending some time going through them looking for favorites and maybe a couple of new varieties to try. This is what gardeners do in the depth of winter, when it is sub-zero outside.

The colors always stimulate me as well. I tend to like deep vibrant colors rather than pastels. Fuchsia, Crimson, Gold, and Violet are some of my favorite shades contrasting with Chartreuse or Emerald foliage.

But, when pondering what to write about for this week’s Poetry Friday post, I settled on a plant that I’ve seen growing almost everyplace I’ve been. And, it really doesn’t fit those traits I just listed as what attracts me to certain plants.

This plant is different. It is a cactus. A prickly pear. You can read more about this cactus in a previous post of mine from 2019.

As seen in Balboa Park, San Diego. 2012.© Carol Labuzzetta,, 2012.
Prickly Pear

 Today, I thought of the prickly pear
 One of my favorite plants
 Returning year after year.
  
 No matter where I’ve travelled or even lived,
 The prickly pear is found lying there.
 The side of the road, a yard or two, 
 or even on the sand prairie, alone but not blue.
  
 The fact we have a cactus survive
 Our Wisconsin cold and snow
 Tells us how tough it is to thrive.
  
 A leathery skin with tiny spines
 Arising from areola pads, oh so kind.
 Protect the flesh from creatures who might dine.
  
 Stems not leaves proves a cactus true.
 It screams “don’t step on me,”
 my needles give this silent clue. 
  
 Yes, prickly pears are a favorite plant
 But if I get stuck,
 You’ll find that I recant. 

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host this week is Ruth and her blog There is no such thing as a Godforsaken Town. Please visit her blog for links to more poetry and for an inspiring post on the book Braiding Sweetgrass. Thanks, Ruth!

8 Thoughts

  1. Carol, like Kay, I like the humor in the last stanza (as well as the rest of the poem). I didn’t know prickly pear cacti were found as far north as Wisconsin–wow!

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  2. The prickly pear in Balboa Park is a beauty, wow! I can see why you like it. It’s not something that has grown around me (in Virginia, Iowa, Georgia, or Maryland), unless I just haven’t noticed. But who wouldn’t notice that spiny survivor? Thanks for sharing.

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  3. I see them in various places here in Colorado, but especially love them at our Botanic Gardens & those flowers – gorgeous. I love “my needles give this silent clue.” – Yes, they do! I’ve had a few encounters while hiking! What fun that your seed catalogs gave you a poem!

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