Grain-y Pictures, and Secret Life by Li-Young Lee

For my graduate research, I studied bees…now for my postdoctoral work, I am studying the pollen that the bees carry.  Not as cute?  Perhaps.  But there is a whole world contained in the pollen grains carried by bees.  I thought I’d share some of my first photos, which are rough, but there you go.  They’re grain-y.*

The cool spiny ball is an pollen from the family Asteraceae.

The cool spiny ball is an pollen from the family Asteraceae (the Aster family).

Pollen3

The huge one is either Convolvulaceae (morning glory family) or Campanulaceae (bellflower family)

Pollen2

Most of the other background pollens are Rosaceae (Rose family)

At higher resolution, the structures on the surfaces of the pollen grains are visible.

At higher resolution, the structures on the surfaces of the pollen grains are visible.

Pollen5

A universe of pollen grains

Pollen6

Mostly Rosaceae, but the top pollen grain is Graminaceae (grass family)

*pun intended

Secret Life

Alone with time, he waits for his parents to wake,
A boy growing old at the dining room table,

Pressing into the pages of one of his father’s big books
The flowers he picked all morning

In his mothers’ garden, magnolia, hibiscus,
Azalea, peony, pear, tulip, iris;

Reading in another book their names he knows,
And then the names from their secret lives;

Lives alchemical, nautical, genital;
Names unpronounceable fascicles of italic script;

Secrets botanical
Descriptions could never trace:

Accessory to empire, party to delusions of an afterlife,
Kin to the toothed, mouthed, furred,

Horned, brained. Flowers
Seem to a boy, who doesn’t know any better, like the winged,

The walking, the swimming, and crawling things abstracted
From time, and stilled by inward gazing.

Copying their pictures, replete with diagrams, he finds
In the words for their parts,

The accounts of their histories,
And their scattered pollen,

Something to do with his own fate
And the perfection of all dying things.

And when it’s time, he discovers in the kitchen
The note left for him that says

His parents have gone and will return by noon.
And when it’s time, the dove

Calls from its hiding place
And leaves the morning greener

And the one who hears the dove more alone.

– Li-Young Lee

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Grain-y Pictures, and Secret Life by Li-Young Lee

  1. I can see differences between the pollen grains, but still they are mostly round shapes and there must be so many different types. How time consuming is it to identify different species?

  2. Pingback: The artistry of pollen grains | standingoutinmyfield

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: