Columbine – the flower of folly


O rose of May,
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens, is ’t possible a young maid’s wits
Should be as mortal as an old man’s life?
Nature is fine in love, and where ’tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.


Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favor and to prettiness.

“Columbine is derived from the Latin word for dove, columba. Seven blooms on a stalk were symbolic of the seven gifts of the Spirit, according to the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2, ‘The Spirit of the LORD will rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fear of the LORD.'”

How appropriate that this should be the first flower I investigate. I am a child full of folly. And how sad that in our world, the first thing that springs to mind is a hate crime. Hopefully that will dissipate over time. Not the memory of the awful event, but the association of a beautiful word with something hideous.

There is a Townes Van Zandt song called Columbine, where he sings,

Tossin’ hair a-ravin’
Eyes of flashin’ blue
All the livin’ that you’re savin’
Won’t buy you dreams for you

Cut yourself a columbine
Tear it from the stem
Now breathe upon the petals fine
And throw them to the wind

Watch the petals dancin’
See them twirl and sing
All your pride and prancin’
How much does it mean?

Watch the petals start to fly
And then come falling down
Hear the wind begin to cry
As she sees some touch the ground

Ah, lady, like the flower fair
Some day you’ll have to fall
And you can find me standin’ there
To catch you if you crawl

He is a beautiful poet and songwriter. A fellow native Texan and madman, or mad woman, in my case. You should look him up and watch the documentary on his life, Be Here To Love Me, if you can find it.


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