Denise Levertov

In Praise of Allium

No one celebrates the allium.
The way each purposeful stem
ends in a globe, a domed umbel,
makes people think,
‘Drumsticks,’ and that’s that.
Besides, it’s related to the onion.
Is that any reason
for disregard? The flowers – look –
are bouquets of miniature florets,
each with six elfin pointed petals
and some narrower ones my eyes
aren’t sharp enough to count,
and three stamens about the size
of a long eyelash.
Every root
sends up a sheaf of sturdy
ridged stems, bounty
to fill your embrace. The bees
care for the allium, if you don’t ­–
hear them now, doing their research,
humming the arias
of a honey opera, Allium it’s called,
gold fur voluptuously
brushing that dreamy mauve.