Posted by: atowhee | April 23, 2017



Behind drooping branches of the western red cedar,

darker far than where I work excising weeds,

white arrests my glance,

first a patch or two on berry leaves,

a hint of action above, and I peer

through branches to find no nest, no bird.


Below, though, nestled near the massive trunk,

is white my eyes had sought but weeks ago,

when even the leaves I hoped would return were missing.


Trillium! It’s here! I thought it gone

the year the tenants brought

their unpermitted, digging dogs,

but trillium, more faithful than Fido,

returned, and it returns again.

I run for tortoise Dittow and kneel

as we look down. See? Three pointed

petals, a trifoliate whorl, and more:

a flower of threes again,

and—odd, a bloom complete,

its symmetry perfect but opposite,

two petals only, two leaves—not living up

to its name: tripartite, three, a trinity, three . . .

Name follows form as form follows function.

Isn’t three the way it should be for trillium?


Three plus one is lucky for clover.

Three minus one, who can say?

—Rosemary Douglas Lombard
This poem is contained in Turtles All the Way: Poems. Georgetown Kentucky: Finishing Line Press, 2016.  Copyright: Rosemary Douglas Lombard.

Ms Lombard and I met at the recent Terroir Creative Writing Festival here in McMinnville.  We talked trillium and I now know that Ms Lombard especially like to talk turtle:

I took these two trillium shots at Tualatin River NWR today.





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