Hypericum perforatum -*- St John’s Wort

The longest day, and we went
into the mountains to see it through.
The shallows of the river were dry
so we sat for the feast of Midsummer
on grey sand and shingle and only
the deeps of the river ran swiftly
in a narrow channel in the shade of leaves.
We lingered there till the day was spent.

It was open season and hunting weather
so we stalked flowers in grass and heather,
St John’s Wort had leaves with translucent dots
and petals edged with a beading of spots –
small suns of the mind to hallow the day
and keep from time his passing away.


Gerard, in his Herball, describes St John’s Wort as having “many small and narrow leaves which if you behold betwixt your eyes and the light, do appear as it were bored or thrust through in an infinite number of places with pin points. The branches divide themselves into sundry small twigs, at the top whereof grow many yellow flowers, which with the leaves bruised do yield a reddish juice the colour of blood.”