The Five-Phoenixes Dragon Sprout (Aspidium falcadum; wood fern)
Deep within the mountain streams,
Phoenixes Five is their name;
These the alchemist esteems,
And their lushness will acclaim.
Harvesting the leaves is done
Only in the seasons blest;
Fifth moon or mid-autumn—
Under these the task is best.
Strange the name and strange the shape—
This is no prosaic thing—
For the leaves distinctly ape
Phoenix tail and phoenix wing.
The Embroidered Carpet Dragon Sprout
(Euphorbia humifusa Willd. or Thyme-Leaf Spurge) Deep within the mountain range
You will find this mystic plant, And its properties are strange, Hidden powers it will grant.
Flowers red, and red its leaves,
And the leaves are round like coins; Strange effects the sage achieves— To the humble leaves he joins
Some realgar—the result could be 57
Medicine’s made successfully;
Eaten as a sacred cut
This will give longevity.
Art and words by Vincent Piazza Copyright 2015