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Evening Primrose


In honor of National Poetry Month, Lifetime Learning is featuring poems written by esteemed faculty during April. “Evening Primrose” is the second featured poem by Rita Dove, 1993-95 U.S. Poet Laureate, 2004-06 Virginia Poet Laureate, 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry, and University of Virginia Commonwealth Professor in the Creative Writing Program in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.



Poetically speaking, growing up is mediocrity.

Neither rosy nor prim,
not cousin to the cowslip
nor the extravagant fuchsia,
I doubt anyone has ever
picked one for show,
though the woods must be fringed
with their lemony effusions.

Sun blathers its baronial
endorsement, but they refuse
to join the ranks. Summer
brings them in armfuls,
yet, when the day is large,
you won’t see them fluttering
the length of the road.

They’ll wait until the world’s
tucked in and the sky’s
one ceaseless shimmer – then
lift their saturated eyelids
and blaze, blaze
all night long
for no one.