Persistence of Milkweed

March 23, 2018


Philip Jamison, American, b. 1925, Milkweed, ca. 1950-1960, Watercolor on Paper


Persistence of Milkweed                                        

Have you ever noticed

that milkweed

in March,

standing straight out of the snow,

the pod half blown out,

half full, still, of silky seeds,

the skin on the pod and stalk

silver and brown

varnished in the storms of two seasons


doesn’t resemble, at all,

the sweet prickly-pod of August?

Light green stem, dripping and furred,

lush leaves like something from the sea

growing in waves by the road

doesn’t look as if it would survive

one windstorm—

too undulant and green

too fragrant and soft.


And there it is, unassuming

denizen of wintered fields,

with few companions in the white,

stalk thready and stiff

but rattling in the breeze, giving

just enough.

It stands till the last seed flies off

and after that, a little longer.

   --Amelia Wood  ~ for Celia Bandman ~


Andreas Engel 

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Community Greenways Collaborative manages the New York Phenology Project, utilizing the USA-National Phenology Network database and Nature's Notebook observation platform.