Arum Maculatum

Seduced on a damp woodland bank
the lily lantern glows.
Inside the green hood
the purple spike protrudes.
A shower of glossy leaves
shoots arrows to the ground.

The cowl calls to insects
and traps them until dusk
when they are released
to carry the fairy pollen
to another spadix.
It shimmers as they escape.

Lords and ladies.
So emphatically a lord’s pintle
and a lady’s vulva—
Arum maculatum stands in the hedge row
as an exotic sexual statement.
Willy lily or priest’s pilly
sucky calves or cuckoo-pint—
our jack-in-the-pulpit flower
belies its English bower.

More suited to a tropical place
the wild arum takes
an aroid space
and sedately waits
until it can
shout into Autumn
with a spike
of shiny orange globes—
and blaze the bank
with its fiery stalk.