Poetry Friday: Goldenrod Prairie Walk

Wandering on a prairie path,

Enveloped in a sea of gold,

Waving stiffly as the

Soft breezes blow.

Some blooms pyramidical,

some with rounded heads,

Some still verdant, and

Some already obtunded.

Bees flock to their

yellow glow, the goldenrod

species beckons to fill

pollen pockets to

a state of overflow.

Brushing me as I pass

with a flecks of color

that seem to last

once the days of autumn

cool. And, the prairie becomes

a lonely, flat, brown pool.

Until another autumn day

when the site of the Solidago species

fill me up as I go on my prairie way.

About a month ago, I visited a plot of land we own that is a ridge top remnant prairie where we hope to build a house. We are working on the land, cutting in a driveway, grading, and planting seed for a future still unknown. While there, I noticed all the goldenrod starting to bloom, bright yellow, against the still verdant grasses and cobalt skies of a late midwestern summer. There, being silly, I declared myself becoming a “Goldenrod Specialist.”

Being silly on our ridge top remnant prairie. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.

We’ve been laughing since. I know next to nothing about this prairie plant, although it seems I am quickly learning, aided by the multitude of photos I’ve taken since the end of July. I can distinctly notice at least three different species of Solidago (goldenrod). I know of stiff goldenrod, showy goldenrod, and Canadian goldenrod. They are all slightly different, but I have yet to confirm I’ve captured these species with my camera or know which is which.

Goldenrod continues to beautify our landscape in the upper midwest right now.

And, as if meant to be, I found a poem yesterday entitled Goldenrod by Mary Oliver, written 1991-1992, as published in her book New and Selected Poems (1992) which was awarded the National Book Award. Here is an excerpt that related to my own experience with goldenrod:

“For myself,

I was just passing by, when the wind flared

and the blossoms rustled,

and the glittering pandemonium

leaned on me.”

Mary Oliver, 1992, New and Selected Poems. Pg. 17.

Today is Poetry Friday. Our host for this week’s round-up is Tricia at her blog, The Miss Rumphius Effect. Please visit her blog for more inspiring poetry. Thanks for hosting!

USFWS Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge. © Carol Labuzzetta, 2021.

6 thoughts

  1. Hey, Goldenrod Specialist! What beauty in your words & pictures! I like “the Solidago species/fill me up as I go on my prairie way.” Wishing you a dream fulfilled not too long from now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is lovely, Carol!

    I love the contrast between the yellow evoked in this passage:
    “the goldenrod
    species beckons to fill
    pollen pockets to
    a state of overflow.”

    And the brown in this one:
    “the prairie becomes
    a lonely, flat, brown pool.”

    And your final line is perfect: I love the idea of your “prairie way.”

    Thanks for sharing this today, and for highlighting the Mary Oliver poem. She was such a master of words.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many see goldenrod as a weed (or a nuisance that aggravates allergies). But we allow a few stems to grow in the wildest corner of our wild backyard garden because before it was a weed, it was an important part of an ecosystem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many plants in the same boat. I remember the first time I sent milkweed seeds home with my garden club students – most parents pitched them out due to not wanting the weed in their yard. That was over ten years ago – now many people know better about the importance of milkweed and “weeds” in general -,especially for our pollinators.


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