Power in a Bottle

Ah, belladonna,
how formidable art thee.
Thine power used since Roman times.
Claudius and Augustus, dead,
wifely potions lethal with thee.

Medieval women
placed drops of thee in their eyes.
Became alluring with wide-eyed innocence,
capturing a gentleman caller’s proposal
curtailing his gigolo lust.

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Kim asks us to use the word “bell” or a form of the word, in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. Image from pixabay.com

Belladonna is a potent plant. Reserach tells us in Roman times, it did indeed kill Emperors Claudius and Augustus when placed in a potion made by their wives. It is said that Macbeth of Scotland used it to poison the liquor supply of invading troops from England. In medieval times, drops of belladonna were used by women for cosmetic purposes: to widen their eyes to make them seem more alluring. Today, belladonna is used by many opthamologists to dilate pupils for examination.

17 thoughts on “Power in a Bottle

  1. ~just a thought October 17, 2022 / 4:57 pm

    Wonderful poem, and fascinating information!


  2. Gillena Cox October 17, 2022 / 5:11 pm




  3. Susan St.Pierre October 17, 2022 / 5:41 pm

    Artfully done! Your information opened many eyes. {Take a bow}


  4. kaykuala October 17, 2022 / 8:17 pm

    placed drops of thee in their eyes.
    Became alluring with wide-eyed innocence,

    They do that, Lillian! Wonder if it still works now. Perhaps there are other similar attractions nowadays.



  5. K.Hartless October 17, 2022 / 10:26 pm

    I have a story about Belladonna and this reminded me of it. I love this unique take.


  6. kim881 October 18, 2022 / 3:25 am

    I love the way you include history, botany, science and medicine, all tightly packed into your quadrille, Lill! Belladonna is an interesting plant. I remember reading about it being used by women to widen their eyes to make them seem more alluring. Having had so many drops to dilate my eyes for my annual diabetic eye screening and my fairly recent cataract surgery, I’m now quite familiar with the beautiful lady plant.


  7. merrildsmith October 18, 2022 / 6:30 am

    I love the history and references in this one, Lillian. Such a unique take on the prompt!


  8. adda October 18, 2022 / 8:14 am

    Interesting… once a teacher, always a teacher ❤


  9. Yvonne Osborne October 18, 2022 / 9:04 am

    I only thought of belladonna as a poison, had no idea it had an apothecary use. Thanks!


  10. msjadeli October 18, 2022 / 1:33 pm

    I like how you showed plants as medicinal or lethal depending on one’s intent.


  11. danadampier October 18, 2022 / 3:14 pm

    Very interesting facts! I like where you went with this poem!


  12. Quaranjavirus October 19, 2022 / 1:36 pm

    Even the most poisonous plants have some usefullness, I think..


  13. paeansunplugged October 20, 2022 / 11:40 am

    Love your take, Lillian! History in verse is always so interesting.


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