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Alpine Flower a Day: Spoon-leaved Sundew

Alpine Flower a Day: Day Five, Spoon-leaved Sundew (Drosera spathulata)

– each tiny flower about 5mm across

– Jan 2021, near tarns, on the 1000 acre plateau, Kahurangi National Park

Here, I am on a writer's retreat in a gorgeous spot half-way up the hill in Little River – so this poem is hot off the page, written as an ekphrastic poem, using a photo from my recent tramp in Kahurangi.


Coronavirus-like, with their tiny round spoons and hairs reaching out like sun-rays catching droplets – lethal for tiny lives. Hot as a fever in summer, like the crimson-shade of your cheeks. Time to slide off the singlet under my shirt, rub glaucous sun-cream along my arms. As I step across the black mud, I must avoid stabbing my thin skin on the twisted branches of small bushes – branches with grey ends, unfailingly sharp, like rotted teeth. Why my interest in these tiny alien creatures beneath me? My camera drops from my hand. A soft thud on the cushion plants. I will stop again. My focus might be better for this one. The light not as bright. Here they are a cluster of red burs at my feet, crazy-waving arms from spatula-suns on my screen, too-bright wallpaper in a hospital toilet as you vomit up poison. I'll tell you something: I like their their sly beauty, secret viciousness, their ability to hide in full sight.

If you're interested in the inspiration behind this month-long series of 'An Alpine Flower A Day' about NZ alpine flowers and poems, you can find more in my first post: An Alpine Flower A Day Enjoy!


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