fire corncockle: our lady of splendour
I arise today through
The splendor of fire
born of pride
born of rebellion
couldn’t get enough
of my nectar
deep in the bottom
i was everywhere
now i’m not
The bright pink flower is not a corncockle, I just liked the forceful colour (ceci nest pas un corncockle!)
Corncockle is for pride. Agrostemma githago. Agro (field) stemma (garland) gith (plant with black seeds) ago (resembling). The black glint of a horse’s eyes.
6,000 years ago she travelled from the Middle East to Europe. Until recently, very common in Europe. Now, sadly, scarce. She no longer grows in the wild in the U.K. Her relatives are the pink and carnation family. She was very good at living with crops, like cornflowers and poppies are. So she would spread herself far and wide. Sometimes her seeds would mingle with the flour for bread. The seeds were toxic but only in doses far huger than we ever ate, and, on the upside, also killed intestinal worms.
Her skill extends to treating growths (cancer, warts), jaundice, paralysis, gastritis, coughs, fluid retention, menstrual disorders, bacterial skin infections and haemorrhoids.
She gets a mention from Shakespeare in Coriolanus. She is referred to as “the cockle of rebellion”, as there is so much of her in the fields. More recently, the British press panic-wrote some articles about how toxic she was. I can’t help but see the parallels to the fear of uprising of the masses. She is not even a mass anymore. But then, neither are we.
It is possible that she has a wicked sense of humour. she holds her nectar at the bottom of the bright pink flower. A tube so long that the bees cannot reach it, but the butterflies and moths can. They, like me, love her.