Laurus Nobilis

‘The laurel grows upon the hills

That looks across the Western Sea.

O winds, within the boughs be still,

O sun, shine tenderly.

And birds, sing soft about your nests:

I twine a wreath for other lands;

A grave! no wife nor child has blest

With touch of loving hands.’

  • Ina Donna Coolbrith, With a Wreath of Laurel

Laurus, latin. Given and worn as a badge of honour to heroes and soldiers returning from war. Also to poets, worn out from a battle with words, image and symbol. Wrestling forth figure from ground, image from imagination. Appointed officially as Poet Laureate, state sanctioned, permissible. Sneaking in the radical between the lines. The bacca laureus, a garland of leaves above the hospital door to greet and celebrate newly qualified doctors and surgeons, celebrated with bay upon graduation, hence baccalaureate, bacca laureus the laurel berry.

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