Datura wrightii

Sacred datura
James H. Blanford

Sacred Datura, a Rhetorical Inquisition


You unfold the extravagance

Of your purple-fringed white flowers

While one curious creature watches.


Our spiritual yet toxic essence

Suffuses all your parts

From the thick tap-root that

Anchors you against the autumn rains and floods

To your erect, spiky top-knot filled with seeds.


Tonight, we will meet in our dreams

In the cosmic lyceum

Sharing delirium

At the point called “now”

Where your story of a myriad generations

Subtly adapting and changing in the

Arid lands new-formed

After the great melt

Greets the plans and projects and blight

Of that one curious creature

Busily reforming the map of your home

To his will.


But you have shared dreams with this creature before,

Haven't you?

With waves of immigrants

Passing and settling

Planning and fretting,

The Clovis, the Apache, the Texan.


What secrets

Have you stolen from their thoughts?

What memes

Have you embedded in their minds?


You learned to attract the

Flying Hawk Moths

Who nightly track your scent to its source

Whose improbably long tongues gently

Frolic with your stigmas

In a pollination ritual.


Some of you gave more powerful visions

To the brave and devotional

Who prepared you and partook of you

Their fears turning into monstrous daemons


With dripping fangs and

Oozing stingers.

Some of you gave surcease of pain.

Some gave spirits freedom from corporal confinement.

Some gave knowledge of the future

And revealed places present yet unknown.


Were the seeds of those most admired nurtured?

Were they given vital water when it was dry?

Were their competitors removed?

These curious creatures

Likely helped make you what you are.

Just as you helped make them.


Should the desert turn to a smoldering fire

Of perpetual aridity

Or floods never seen before that scour it bare,

Will you survive and thrive,

Recast and adapt?


Who will be left to save you?

But that one curious creature

Who completes the mission you implanted in its genes.




James H. Blanford is a retired environmental scientist. He was born in
Minnesota and currently lives in Alamogordo, New Mexico. He is waiting,
with great curiosity, to see what happens.