Northdays Companion Articles

Lily of the Valley

By you
I am
Lily of the Valley,
elegant mayflower,
pure and subtle.
You wash me gently, nourishing -
I open, quenched.
Tiny white bells
my head explodes
with delicacy.
No higher bliss
then femaleness.

Poetry by Sue Risk 1972

The exquisite scent of the almost-hidden Lily of the Valley leads you to its quiet and spreading bed. Plant half a dozen of its roots and you will note that in five years there is a square yard of the lovely flowers. Pick them and there will be less flowers for you the next year. In the lush and ecstacy of the Spring, I used to brush morning dew from the opened bells of the flower, and perfume myself with its fresh, gorgeous scent. Its leaves turn yellow in the Autumn and it produces red berries where the flowers have dropped off.

Perhaps you have heard of how the flower, St. Johns' Wort, received its name. The early faithful had it that St. Johns Worts' deep red "blood' was that of St. John the Baptist. If you look at the flower' origins, there certainly seem to be photonic pictures of baptism in the lovely qualities of this plant. A Sussex, England legend tells of St. Leonard, who fought a dragon in the woods near Horsham, where he fought valiantly but was grievously wounded. The legend has it that wherever his blood fell, Lily of the Valley sprang from it, thickly amassing into a carpeted wood until this very day!


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