Category Archives: Crocus Poetry & Symbol

Crocus Stamen & Stigmata: Photos

After following the commandment yesterday to, “Consider the Lilies”, I became more interested in considering the crocus, too. Emily called them the “vassal of the snow,” but today they’ll be free to worship the sun.

This morning I went out to observe the tenderest portion of the crocus, its reproductive element, the flower. While snooping inside this tender spot–early spring homes for gnats and bees–I did spy a few of these little creatures at work and rest.

The crocus is different from the lily in that its stigma is divided into three at the tip of the style. The lily’s stigma is a tri-bulbous unit; the crocus’ stigma is a separated threesome we refer to in its plural form–stigmata (Stig-Muh-Tuh). The stamen (male portion of the flower) is also different. The lily has 6 stamen, while the crocus has but 3.

There is a fall flower that looks very much like the crocus and is mistaken for crocus called colchicum (Kohl-Chick-Um). It is actually part of the Lily family (Liliaceae) and has 6 stamen as well. If you ever wonder–crocus or colchicum–just count the stamen–three equals crocus, six equals colchicum.

Here are my pictures from the garden from this morning, a beautiful early spring day–temps climbing to 65. The focus is on the pistil (stigma, style and ovary–female parts) and the stamen (filament and anther–male parts).

Enjoy a walk through my garden’s tenderest and most private early April places as the crocus slowly open themselves up to the day’s sun.

“Crocuses come up, in the garden off the dining room.” Emily Dickinson quote from a letter.

The Snow Crocus

The difference a day makes, yesterday,
Orange stamen reaching to the sun, 
Petals stretched out, almost falling,
But now, dark clouds, the cold,
The snow, as white as you are—
You’ve pulled tight your coat
Shut yourself and your secret from the world.

Emily Dickinson’s Garden, April 4th Snow Crocus, 2012

I thought about form with this poem and how it could mirror the crocus in sun and snow. The crocus opens up in the sun (free form), then closes itself up in cold (poetic form, rhyme). I changed up the poem above to play with that idea.

The difference a day makes, yesterday,
Your orange stamen reached up to the sun,
Your silky petals strained and stretched
As soft and open as new skin
But now, dark clouds, the cold
Bold snow, as white as you are
It obscures the sun so completely
You’d swear there is no sun, or ever will be
You’ve shut yourself up for now
But I know how, you’ll open again.

The Snow Crocus, Emily Dickinson’s Garden, April 4th 2012

And So, The Crocus Come

Crocus, almost like blades of grass, making their way toward the world.

My Crocus are pushing themselves up out of the ground. I’m hovering over, watching their every move. I told my husband, as we planted our fall bulbs, This is like giving gifts to ourselves now, we will receive in spring.

When you give a gift ahead of time, and let it go, you don’t know what circumstances will surround the recipient when it arrives. How can you? I wondered, as we planted, What will pass in our lives before the crocus emerge? Will there be trials and tragedies? Huge shifts of life? Or, will so little change that we barely see the separation from then to now?

At this point, I can answer it–I can barely see the separation from then to now. If you told me we planted them a week ago, I would not be surprised, even though I know they were planted last October. That must be a good thing.

I’ve written here, at The Garden, about the Crocus in poetry and symbol even when I didn’t have Crocus in my own garden. Through poetry I learned that the air can be heavy with the odor of crocuses and that there can be drifts of crocuses in the damp grass.

If you want to learn about the Crocus through poetry, please click on this link to last year’s blog post where I compiled all the poems about Crocus I could find, two of which are by Miss Emily Dickinson. There’s also a link to another post, the Crocus post for the year before that.

For 2011, the meaning of the Crocus, for me, is the gift we give without knowing what will come of it. Basically, the gift we lift up to the world and release. It’s investing in the future not knowing what that future will hold, yet looking ahead with hope.

Two Worlds
by Raymond Carver

In air heavy
with odor of crocuses,

sensual smell of crocuses,
I watch a lemon sun disappear,

a sea change blue
to olive black.

I watch lightning leap from Asia as

my love stirs and breathes and
sleeps again,

part of this world and yet
part of that.

Since we’re also looking at “form” this year. I want to include an analysis of this poem by Wendy Bishop:

“In the Poem ‘Two Worlds,’ Raymond Carver uses repetition vertically down the poem’s stanzas, repeating the word “crocuses.” Even though no other exact words repeat across the first three stanzas, the s and c alliteration does: crocuses, sensual smell, sea, crocuses and change. He links stanzas 4 and 5 with ‘sleeping’ and ‘sleep’ and stanzas 5 and 6 with repetition of the word ‘part.’ The s sounds continue in the last three stanzas: Asia as, sleeping, stirs, breathes and sleeps. The t sounds links together the lines of the final couplet, creating a sense of closure with ‘this and ‘that.’ Although this is a couplet poem, the sounds and repeated words ring down the lines randomly but satisfyingly. The poet is playing by ear–but with a highly trained ear.” Wendy Bishop, Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem: a Guide to Writing Poetry