February 12th, 2005


The crocus are out.

(What's the plural of crocus- Crocuses or crocii? Both are ugly, so I'm sticking with the generic singular.)

As I rode into town yesterday they were coming up in clumps by the roadside. It's not Spring yet- of course it isn't- but the crocus are the first sign.


Ezra Pound talks about their "gilded phalloi". This has stuck with me because (a) it's bold and (b) it's wrong. The crocus is fleshy, but not in the least bit metallic. And the colour isn't gold but a sort of deep egg-yolk yellow.

I stole the sexual metaphor and wrote a poem once in which an early crocus "Peeks like a clitoris from the rough." I've never been sure whether this was brave or ridiculous.

I'm struck by their fragility. A little wind, a little rain and they're done for. They push sleekly up through the hard soil, then just fall to pieces.