NARROW-LEAFED CAMPION
Silene Stenophylla, 32,000 BCE

Why have you woken me from my dragon-sleep?

Such dreams I had as I lay, a hundred feet below

The earth in my refrigerated cavern as the frost 

Groaned & snored through thirty millennia & 

Buried me as a worm guards its soil-dark treasure. 

Dreams of the furred giants who nibbled my limbs, 

Their herculean bones encircling me like a ritual 

Site snares a sundial, or granite star-map. I dreamt 

I was dropped like a kitten from its mother’s mouth;

Half-chewed, a spore these large squirrels missed, 

But the ice did not. We met then as friends who

Sometimes meet unexpectedly in a far-off land

& are surprised; their face – the sun coming out

From behind a cloud. At the right time, we bloom.

Note: In 2012, a team of Russian scientists discovered seeds of the plant Silene stenophylla, buried 32,000 years previously by an Ice Age squirrel. They successfully germinated the plant, bringing it back to life – the oldest plant ever to be regenerated.

Poem by Brett Dionysius

BR Dionysius was founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival. He has published four collections of poetry, two chapbooks, an artist’s book and a verse novel. His eighth collection, Weranga, was released in 2013. He was shortlisted in the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize. He teaches English, lives in Brisbane and in his spare time watches birds.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, what an amazing use of the sonnet form. You read down those regular lines of 4-5 beats, like the accumulations of geological time – & what an end. A poetics of evocation like a spell!

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