monday verse: elderflower


Soft corrugations in the boortree’s trunk,
Its green young shoots, its rods like freckled solder:
It was our bower as children, a greenish, dank
And snapping memory as I get older.
And elderberry I have learned to call it.
I love its blooms like saucers brimmed with meal,
Its berries a swart caviar of shot,
A buoyant spawn, a light bruised out of purple.
Elderberry? It is shires dreaming wine.

From Glanmore Sonnets (V) by Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney has such a way with words. I particularly love the phrase ‘shires dreaming wine’, and his description of the elderberries as ‘a light bruised out of purple.’

The elderflowers are just beginning to appear around us, and I took this photograph whilst out walking. I was attracted by the way the flowers look like fine, delicate lace against the sky when viewed from underneath. The bee was a bit of a bonus, as I didn’t realise it was there until I looked at the picture later.

We’ll soon have to make our annual decision to either pick the blooms from the tree in our garden and make elderflower cordial, or wait until autumn and make jam from the berries. I suspect we’ll opt for jam tomorrow, to see us through the winter.


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