gone to seed

magnolia wilsonii seed pod split showing seeds close up

Although it’s still nearly three weeks until the equinox, the meteorologists say it’s already autumn. Certainly there are plenty of fruits and berries about on trees and bushes.

As I wandered round in the sunshine yesterday, camera in hand, wondering what to take photos of, my eye was caught by the magnolia tree. More specifically, by the seed pods in various stages of development.

unripe magnolia wilsonii seed pod

At first sight, there’s something very dragon-like about the pods.

magnolia wilsonii seed pod split showing seeds close up

On closer inspection, though, they remind me of birds’ feet – in particular of the grouse claw kilt pin I remember from my childhood.

magnolia wilsonii seed pod split showing seeds

I must have seen many of these pins over the years, and don’t remember the exact details of the one from my mother’s treasure box: I’m not sure whether the silver mount that held the bone was shaped and engraved like a thistle head or plain, but I think the band at the top of the seed pods was one of the factors triggering the association.

ripe magnolia wilsonii seed pod split showing seeds

As I said at the beginning of the post, there is something very dragon-like about the seed pods. So here’s a poem with dragons in it:

Terror Incognita

Whichever way you look at it
that mountain has to be
a dragon. See the bold curve
of its haunch as it crouches
hackles raised along the skyline.
Pinked by the morning sun
the broad snout tucks
under a crooked wing and snow
webs taloned claws.
You can’t escape: each serrated
ridge, each spur and scar
of every mountain range
proclaims the inevitability
of dragons.

 
ripe magnolia wilsonii seed pod split showing seeds

And, finally, to complete the photo set, here’s a picture of a flower from the same tree earlier this year:

magnolia wilsonii flower

Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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