Friday, May 20, 2011

annual honeysuckle poem, ahead of schedule

you! I wrote your poem already
last year and the year before that...
but this afternoon
blue blasts through the cloud cover;
I round the corner, bent on an ordinary errand,
shoot through a fleet scent
like a warm spot in the sea
and stop, stock-still:
what was that streak of happy?

stepping back the smell swells;
goodmorninghellohappynewyear it's you!

slipping the stamens (forgiving the
gajillion green raindrops of the week)
lights fireworks inside my face
and each white or yellow trumpet blossom
gets under my tongue and under my feet
giving me nectar-fueled jetboots
that blast me above cloud cover,
let me hover over May, over today,
and sight the fence of a far-off June
where I learned to suck honeysuckle

Is it crazy to be walloped so soundly every year by the same short-lived miracle? I stood yesterday enjoying my son's enjoyment, remembering my daughter's (see previously published ode below), but selfishly relishing my own surrender to The Sensory Power of the Honeysuckle Experience. (Ooh, and when I play in a band, after we finally negotiate an 8th day of the week, it will be called The Honeysuckle Experience.)

Honeysuckle Hunting

It could be anywhere.
We stand stock still and sniff
the green breathing of daisy, vine and leaf.

Ears pricked and noses high,
we listen for the drowsy hum
of yellow golden honey.

There, on the fence!
We'll steal it from the bees,
pluck a tiny trumpet blossom,

pinch the end with finger and thumb,
like biting the vanilla-dripping tip
of an ice cream cone.

Slowly, slowly, draw it out--
pull the stamen through, tongue poised
to catch one crystal drop of sweetness.

~Heidi Mordhorst
from Squeeze: Poems from a Juicy Universe, 2005

Join Julie at The Drift Record for this week's Poetry Friday roundup!


  1. I feel the same way about honeysuckle, Heidi! Was trying to figure out how to make honeysuckle tea recently. I like both of your poems.

  2. You walloped me into happiness, too, with these poems. Here in Mass, I'm enjoying lilac heaven, even if it's not tripping me into poems.

    (also loved your adage at Julie Lario's blog: Let white space be genuine. Need to embroider that one somewhere.)

  3. So much energy around such a soft, delicate thing - I always feel blissful when they bloom around here, too, recalling my 19-year-old daughter's childhood annual love affair with them. Love
    "nectar-fueled jetboots" which I think you should wear while performing with "The Honeysuckle Experience" in whatever spare time you conjure up.

  4. My "streaks of happy" are the scents of iris and peonies.

    Your JUICY little universe comes to life in this poem! Some May I need you to give me honeysuckle sipping lessons!

  5. Thanks, all, for your comments--I really enjoyed learning which scents propel you skyward!

    Toby, I had no idea you were a pilot. If our nectar-fueled jetboots should ever fail, will you zoom in to transport the members of The Honeysuckle Experience to their next gig, where they'll sing "H-H-H-Honey and the Jets"?

  6. I love these poems and how you come back to that streak of happy every year. Just like me! I planted honeysuckle on my fence for the screen of sweet perfume of an evening, and now they have taken over the side yard and my neighbor's... I have to get out there and prune constantly in order not to be completely grown over. Can't stand still in the yard! Is that happiness over-taking us?

  7. Oh, Heidi ~ I'm so with you in the yard, waiting for that one drop, swooning to that smell. Years ago our landscape guy told me there were two plants I should never plant, (since I love to plant but not to weed):morning glory and honeysuckle. Of course I planted them both and they have happily taken over our back fence.

    Your poems are a blessing. Thank you!


Thanks for joining in the wild rumpus!