blue berries round
piny and pungent
Juniper berries found
devoured by birds
Copyright 2022 Brenda Davis Harsham
Notes: Generally Juniper is a side note in a poem, a subtle flavor in gin, but it has its own life where its berries would be leading ladies, if written by the birds — penning poems like John Keats in his Ode to a Nightingale: “Tasting of Flora and the country green,/ Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!” Amy Lowell in Vintage: “I will mix me a drink of stars,—/ Large stars with polychrome needles.” And Ben Johnson in To Celia, “The thirst that from the soul doth rise.” The scent of juniper is a natural magic, and its berries leaven a dull month — at least for the birds. Watching their antics is a welcome distraction in a dark time.
“Roses and gladioles make up bright mounds
Of flowers, with juniper and aniseed;
While sage, all newly cut for this great need,
Covers the Persian carpet that is spread
Beneath the table, and so helps to shed
Around a perfume of the balmy spring.
Beyond is desolation withering.”
— from Eviradnus by Victor Hugo