“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dandelion: After Wallace Stevens” by Emma Levinbook

by Emma Levinbook ’22

Winner- Best Poetry

Enfolded in the vast garden of our Earth
stands high and mighty
the radiant, blooming sun of a dandelion.

It whirls with the wind,
its wings opening with delight
as if to welcome me into its gleaming orbit.

The dandelion’s seeds swirl
using nature’s parachute to glide endlessly
with no sense of place or time or feeling –
just choreographed chaos.

I yearn to latch onto the madness that is its movement
its boldness
its blinding blaze
among the sea of green.

The grace
with which it releases itself from the roots below
is tangible –
landing directly into my palms,
carried away in the late summer air.

It brings with it memories
of power
of healing
of strength
as its scent and its body and its spirit
settle smoothly upon my skin.

It ignites within itself an inner smile –
the kind that burns with unprecedented vigor –
as it lies with a new peace of mind.

It is nature’s song for my eyes,
providing warmth and care and nurturing
without faltering or losing essence or brilliance,
as only nature’s love can.

It is art
unrivaled by the works of man,
its yellow paint dripping down my palm
like melting butter – fluid, thick, warm.

It is the definition of
natural feeling and emotion,
free of preconceived notions
and subjective thoughts,
whispering to me
in its golden-laced voice overflowed with compassion and purpose – a voice
that is a flashlight
exposing my woes, my fears –
as if my Confidant.

the dandelion is also
ephemeral, fleeting –– its taste
soon becomes sour to the tongue like an overripe lemon
perspiring through its softening outer skin,
dripping into the soil below.

For as the weather cools
from its warmer notes,
and the shining yellow of the dandelion’s petals
buries deep under the fresh blankets of snow,
the dandelion becomes lost.

And yet it doesn’t want to be found
until it can glow vibrantly again
and provide illumination
following the wintry cold of Connecticut.