There are some plants, critters, and birds mentioned in my poem, "San Saba Springtime"
that might be unfamiliar to someone from another part of the world. As the poem was
written for young people, I also wished for them to become familiar with these as well
and to enlarge their vocabulary. So here are some images with descriptions, followed
by the text of the poem:
A field of Bluebonnets
, a type of lupine (lupin), and the state flower of Texas.
The Hill Country region can be carpeted with these in certain years. There are
also some small Mesquite
trees here. They are like the acacia in Africa, edible
leaves, but thorny. They also produce an edible bean, which the cattle in
Mexico released by the Spanish ate and eventually spread the seeds to Texas,
where it did not grow previously. The wood is aromatic and used for smoking
are quite a bit bigger than the ones found in Texas, but look
the same. They come out after the rain to reproduce and can easily be
spotted. They are quite harmless and pretty. They are consumed in India,
where they are known as Indian Viagra.
The Organ Pipe
wasp or Dirt Dauber
is iridescent blue-black and not at all
aggressive. Its nest is cast from dirt and the wasp's saliva. It preys on
spiders and lays its eggs in their bodies.Ant Lions
, also known as Doodlebugs
, make an inverted cone-shaped trap to
catch ants in. You can see it here just above the ant lion's wandering tracks,
which look like doodles, hence the moniker. You don't want to see a picture of
the ant lion, which is harmless, but really ugly.
is well-known to Americans, so this is for the rest of the
world. It's scientific name is Mimus polyglottus, which is a perfect description
as it is a perfect mime, singing all the other birds' calls. Some birds will sing
over a hundred different calls. You are lucky if you have one near your house.
The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
is also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise,
one of the most beautiful birds in Texas.
The poem depicts Spring awakening in the San Saba valley of Texas, the northern
edge of the Hill Country, arguably the most beautiful part of Texas. Texas at one
time was a republic, hence a sovereign land.
I wanted to involve several senses in the poem, so it starts with a far view of
the land, then changes the focus to the ground close-up and some critters (the
butterfly seems to get all the good bug PR, so I am trying to focus on some
others). Then back overhead, then to sounds and birds flying, and finally to
some fragrant smells. In particular, that heady smell of the earth after rain on
dry ground, Petrichor, very pungent in Texas, and it brings me home every time.
landing at Love Field in Dallas in 1967 just discharged from the Air Force.
I got off the plane via the stairs so I was immediately outside. It had just rained and
the combination of the hot ground and the rain just gave me a rush. It just said
San Saba Springtime