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SUN UNDERFOOT AMONG THE SUNDEWS, by                 Poet's Biography

"Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews" by Amy Clampitt is a poem that explores the beauty and fragility of nature, specifically the sundew plant. The poem was published in 1983, just a few years after Clampitt's debut collection, and is known for its rich language and vivid imagery..


The poem begins with a description of the sundew, a carnivorous plant that catches and digests insects. The speaker marvels at the plant's ability to "entice the eye" and "snare the heart," drawing in its prey with a sweet, sticky sap. However, the plant's beauty and power is juxtaposed with its vulnerability. The speaker notes that the sundew's habitat is threatened by human development, with "acre after acre" being destroyed.

Throughout the poem, Clampitt employs a variety of poetic devices to enhance the reading experience. The rhyme scheme is irregular, with occasional slant rhymes and near-rhymes adding a sense of playfulness and unpredictability. The imagery is striking and sensory, with words like "honeyed," "glossy," and "luminous" evoking the tactile and visual qualities of the plant. The tone is reverent and wistful, as the speaker laments the loss of such a delicate and precious part of the natural world.


Poetic Elements:

  • Form: Free verse
  • Theme: Nature, interconnectedness, mortality
  • Imagery: The vivid description of the sundew and the natural setting
  • Tone: Reverent, contemplative
  • Sound: Assonance and consonance
  • Language: Precise and descriptive language
  • Rhyme scheme: None


"Sun Underfoot Among the Sundews" is a beautiful and contemplative poem that captures the wonder and interconnectedness of the natural world. Through her vivid imagery and precise language, Clampitt highlights the delicate balance of life and the fleeting nature of existence.

Poem Snippet:

"Only the momentary

 sparkle of dew upon them 

suggests the purest luster"

"But there's no haste here,”

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