Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The consolation of weeds

I’m not a botanist,
or an avid gardener.

The horto I culture consists of two pots,
sits on a narrow sill
and soaks in its one-hour slit of sunshine.

This makes me unfit
to label much less
fathom the encroaching
sublime, which sprouts,
shoots, creeps, clings and endures
from far reaches beyond me.

It has spines
supple and rigid,
skins coarse, spiked, and silky,
quivering tips that are spidery,
and bunched as small dollops,
jagged teardrops and jigsaw puzzle pieces.

I’m not a botanist,
but if I were
I should still be struck dumb
by these numbing instances
a protesting tongue
insists it won’t box up
such greenery with the genial trappings
of a scientific classification,
or even the oddly
folksy catch-all “weed.”

I can’t always tell what’s a weed, what not.

l know those greedy
intruders growing at the heart
of a meticulously turned earth
to spoil the well-ordered
plots of a barely adequate vocabulary.

It gets more complicated
with the thrilling misfits
and their sturdier notions
of choking life from inhospitable beds
poured and paved
to the detriment of meeker plantings.

Yesterday I met the peeks of ten
woody red stems poking through
a patch of chunky white gravel
spread thick between two
steel rails that fled to a horizon.

I watched the breeze
shake their candelabra arms
dressed in sparse leaves
and denser seed-packed sleeves,
and they welcomed it.

I'm not a botanist
and I can’t name these plants,
but I can admit, I admired them.


The Scrybe said...

Fantastic word play as always! :)

Eileen T O'Neill ..... said...

I enjoyed reading this very much. As I am an amateur gardener, in my own garden I found it all very interesting. I appreciate you may just have two window pots, but I got a feeling that you might make a great gardener, such was your knowledge. Cunningly used words and word placement, told me that!
A lovely piece of writing!

Rallentanda said...

Weeds as thrilling misfits..I like.I found this poem quite touching.It moved me to think that someone would even notice those weeds powering through the gravel and I felt a sense of isolation, a kind of camaraderie between the weeds and the author. I thought it was a very good piece of writing as well.

Francis Scudellari said...

@Scrybe Thanks... sorry I've been a little absent from FoS lately. I really enjoyed your last poem there.

@Eileen My two plants seem to be quite happy (especially the spider plant), so I may have a bit of a green thumb :). Maybe someday I'll actually get a bit of earth to turn.

@Rall I've always found it extremely inspirational to see the small plants that push through cracks of pavement and sidewalk. It gives me a bit of hope that ugly things can be undone.

cooper said...

I loved this, being a gardener of sorts I related to it. I must send it around to my gardening friends.

Francis Scudellari said...

Thanks Cooper. I think I'm more a fan of the plants than planting.

Lisa said...

Wonderful poems, great site. Thanks for sharing.