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Guise of Plants: Poems on “The Mind of Plants” by Peter Larkin

By Peter Larkin

May 16, 2023 | Sustainability & Ecology

Below you will find a series of inspiring poems created by Peter Larkin and his interpretation of the beautiful plants mentioned in The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence. A British poet known for his striking and powerful poems about trees, Larkin’s poems are rich with vivid imagery, as well as speaking to the intricate relationships between these magnificent organisms and the ecosystems they inhabit.

A note from Peter Larkin: 

For John C. Ryan, with gratitude and admiration

Note: these poems are drawn in large part from The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence, edited by John C. Ryan, Monica Gagliano, and Patricia Vieira (2021). Enormous thanks to and appreciation of the contributors whose striking materials I have snaked my textual links through to find some fresh patterns of original dependence. I have limited myself to plants I have actually encountered.



Finish-lines, margins
were haunted by how
dreams recall waking,
passions of a plant
matching the dazzles of us

apostolic symmetries the
entrance to a crown of form,
filaments declare no
further floral storm

searching for a stem
will traverse this sill
of witness, symbol
at its own expanse,
palmate luminals

lurching true from anthropo-
genic turbulence, diagnosed
(prophesised) as no dis-

                these are tracings
of a diet of calm the plant
invokes, no further chiding
than the facilitator it gives,
practitioner of a tendril
to scent a cosmology

sprouting a sacral to its
own fuse, a conduit between
adjacent destinations, rolls
its thoughts of new to the
range, prayerful vine
in exchange


Roses thrown here as
much as any other place,
crisp whenever spring
earns the intervention

attar of genetic pose, how
to get the lost scent back?
no heed of a substitute
blue, instead convey paler
colour-clues sub rosa

insisting on ubiquity al-
most undoes the vegetal
metaphor until an everywhere
incarnadines the symbol

draws in blood and marks
the blotch on cutting leaves, a
naked stem from the knife

being pricked to the pick of
it, a plant drily reduces to
flowering for altered purposes,
design-accretions of appreciation

aids the rose to cling onto
structures, pictures, buds
reported patent blossoming

always a curtaining rose
beside the death of a heath


Bean-like the use of
signals and sufficient
interrogation, social
stimuli on all solitary

          pass many lives
crossing from seed to
plant, lacing the text-
ures of moistening,
bean grain speculates,
remembers, the entire
plant, charged with a
membrane resting

propagable, stimulate
every next cell, at the
transient switch release
persistent action

                what is
all-tellable of this plant’s
cognition surfaces, narrative
of an interior arises from
scolding the patches and scrapes

                  and say what
microscopic ritual at the mind
of beans, present complex
oscillatory instances, retain
an overlapped, crusts,
                        green mind
for green sessile admission,
retakes stasis in its local
guise, transition abounds
through circulating veins
of mud and air


The gift of young graft
in the garden of philosophers,
themes a spare attentiveness
in rows of care, insightful
decay, home, stalking
many grounds since

ritualize conversion to tree-
minding, guided exchange,
co-visible network stances
trying beforehand to prove
embodied expectation

no way to flail the soil
at being a true apple,
appraising a fathomable
equity, fractal displays
of a life in shape

Peter Larkin

Peter Larkin contributed to The Ground Aslant: an Anthology of Radical Landscape Poetry, ed. Harriet Tarlo (2011). A symposium on his work was held at Warwick U (UK) in 2018, the proceedings of which appeared in the Journal of British & Irish Innovative Poetry. Among recent collections are Trees Before Abstinent Ground  (2019) and Encroach to Resume (2021). A set of 100 2-3 line poems, Sounds Between Trees appeared in 2022 from Guillemot Press and a new collection If Trees Allay an Earth Retrialling (Shearsman) is due in 2023.


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