Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Yellow and pink

with 20 comments

Four-Nerve Daisy by Mountain Pink Flowers 7647

Along the Smith Memorial Trail on June 28th I encountered some mountain pinks, Centaurium beyrichii, but as I’d found larger and more photogenic ones a week earlier at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, I photographed one of the newly encountered plants not in its own right but as a formless background for this nearby four-nerve daisy, Tetraneuris scaposa. The last time you saw a four-nerve daisy in these pages, it was playing the background role and a rain-lily stalk was the star. This talk of roles is tempting me to say that all the world’s a stage, but someone else whose last name also begins with an S has already taken that line. Oh well, here it is anyway, as you like it, measure for measure, and sans further ado:

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2013 at 6:07 AM

20 Responses

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  1. The flower…it looks sad…moving into the final scene.

    Jim in IA

    August 29, 2013 at 7:03 AM

    • Your mention of looking sad made me realize that I’ve never thought that about the fading stage of a four-nerve daisy because I’ve always been too intrigued by the way its features change. The central disk bulges upward, the rays sculpt themselves downward around the “rim” of the flower head, and gradually those rays lose much of their yellow and turn white and papery-looking. By coincidence, though, tomorrow I’m planning to show a plant that did strike me as distinctly sad and forlorn.

      You can see more a four-nerve daisy’s papery look in a photograph I took last year:


      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2013 at 7:16 AM

      • I did notice the little white traces on the two right petals. And the link to the other one really makes it obvious. Thanks.

        Jim in IA

        August 29, 2013 at 7:31 AM

        • You have a keen eye to have noticed those little bits of white in all the yellow. And speaking of eyes, I’ll have to keep mine open for a four-nerve daisy that’s even more papery-looking than the one from last year.

          Steve Schwartzman

          August 29, 2013 at 7:34 AM

  2. Les deux couleurs s’entendent parfaitement. J’aime vraiment beaucoup le coeur de la fleur.


    August 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM

  3. May we all be more like four-nerve daisies, finding ways to be intriguing and even beautiful no matter which stage of life we represent.


    August 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    • I’m with you there, especially now that I’m noticeably closer to one end of the continuum than to the other.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2013 at 2:27 PM

  4. Ah, clever, Steve. Nice daisy portrait too.

    George Weaver

    August 29, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    • And it’s clever of this daisy to be one of the most common in central Texas, much to my delight.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2013 at 6:51 PM

  5. Your poetry and daisy image compliment each other very well! Both lovely and your words speak the truth! Sad or not sad, depends on your perspective!


    August 29, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    • I’m glad you liked the complementarity, Sheila. Mr. S. wrote a lot of good things, but he never took a photograph.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2013 at 10:05 PM

  6. Steve, thank you for your inspiration! I love your photographs and your explanations are great. I’ve just begun nature blogging myself, perhaps in part thanks to you.

    Brenda Jones

    August 29, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    • Brenda, I visited your site and was going to comment, but did not find the usual Comment area.
      from Sheila at WolfSongBlog.Com


      August 29, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    • You’re welcome, Brenda. Happy inspiration out there in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where you must have so many wonderful native plants to photograph, and of course so much scenery. I’ve only passed through your region but unfortunately never spent any time there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 29, 2013 at 10:10 PM

  7. […] this species is like when it’s fresh—and not just as a background the way it appeared in yesterday morning’s photograph—you can have a look upward from afar at some plants on a cliff or closely downward at a flowering […]

  8. Wow! That shot is just amazing. I love the colors. 🙂


    August 30, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    • The brightness of the yellow seems to have caused the camera’s sensor to record the pink as a little more violet than it really was, but I was taken with the resulting color combination. We’re both happy with the result.

      Steve Schwartzman

      August 30, 2013 at 6:36 AM

  9. Until I started blogging, I’d never heard the expression “last nerve”, as in, “She gets on my last nerve”. It looks like this daisy’s on its last nerve – as opposed to being on its last leg.

    I’ve not read that passage in a long, long time. Putting on a few more years has given it a context that’s incredibly humorous. I need to re-read more Shakespeare, just to see what other sharp – and funny! – observations of his I’ve missed in the past.


    September 1, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    • Apparently “get on my last nerve” is a Southernism, but although I’ve lived in the South (mostly Texas) since the 1970s, I don’t recall having heard that expression. As I so often say, live and learn. To the point, though: it’s good of you to have thought to apply the phrase to this four-nerve daisy.

      As for Shakespeare, I’ll bet almost everyone above a certain age remembers “All the world’s a stage,” but few of us go back to read the extended metaphor of the full passage about our passage through life.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 1, 2013 at 8:01 AM

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