by Ted Hughes
Big Poppy Summary
The poem opens up with the speaker exclaiming that a poppy is a "Hot-eyed Mafia Queen!" (1). Then, almost as if things started off on too nutty a foot, the poem pulls back and notes that the flower is on a garden's edge, swaying in the breeze. There's a bumblebee that enters the scene at this point, and crawls up a petal to drink nectar from the flower's center.
The poem goes on at this point to focus on the center of the poppy, which will eventually swell after the petals fall off to become a seed pod. This seed pod, as some might know, is the basis for opium (and heroin) production, and signals the end of the poppy's life. Thus, the last bit of the poem is about the poppy's imminent demise, after which we (as humans, presumably) will talk about it in the same way in which we might talk about a beautiful, wild woman: "she wore herself in her hair, in her day/ […] and that stripped, athletic leg, hairy, in a fling of abandon" (22, 25-26).