Craig Smith is a poet and novelist from Huddersfield. His poetry has appeared in The North, Blizzard, and The Interpreters’ House, and on iambapoet.com/ and Mechanics' Institute Review. He is the author of the poetry collections L.O.V.E. Love (Smith/Doorstop), A Quick Word With A Rock And Roll Late Starter, (Rue Bella), and the novel Super-8 (Boyd Johnson).
There are new dandelions on the Common.
The spindly stalks of these coin-sized supernova
can barely lift their heads from the ground, today being November
and the season for dandelions long being over.
One weekend, three years back, the boy and I questioned
how the solar rays of dandelion petals switched modes
to become the crowning afro that jettisoned the seeds
we chased across the Common.
The sequence of events was lost to us;
we wondered whether we’d misunderstood
the rigmarole of transformation.
Was it the same plant or, in fact, two separate but related genus
with their own particular methods of procreation?
We found a stop-frame motion picture that followed the petals
as they folded like an umbergamp or parasol
and transmogrified in darkness where space was scarcest
until the flower unraveled to unveil the seeds it would release
for a boy and his father to scamper after.
The video missed the pollination,
the symbiotic promenade of the bee on the flower-head,
collecting the pollen for its own ends while seeding the stamen
to trigger the transmogrification.
It was left to our imagination,
the dandelion and bee given their privacy
for their cross-species sexual relations
and lifestyle integration.
We’re on the grass in the heat of November,
counting the dandelions breaking through the Rookery turf
as if sitting among stars in a constellation.
A honey bee struggles to lift itself from the helipad of the terrace.
Lured out by the late-Autumn sun,
like the buds on the hydrangea, the blossom on the cherry,
or the squirrels hoarding chestnuts for a winter that will never come
and a hibernation they’ll never take,
the bee has been tricked out of season
by the unseasonable weather,
dragged into existence before its time.
We nudge it onto a fallen oak leaf, drizzle it onto a dandelion,
and leave them to their transaction.
Craig Smith is a poet and novelist from Huddersfield. His poetry has appeared in The North, Blizzard, and The Interpreters’ House, and on iambapoet.com/ and Mechanics’ Institute Review, and he is the author of the poetry collections L.O.V.E. Love (Smith/Doorstop), A Quick Word With A Rock And Roll Late Starter, (Rue Bella), and the novel Super-8 (Boyd Johnson).