Discover the art and science of gardening by exploring the links in the poem below...


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Sisyphus must have been a gardener

Jerry Young
Austin, TX
Ergonica Weed Poetry Winner for April, 2001

Out here, by the hot street on the other side of the fence,
beyond our dearly purchased salvias and maples,
cosmos from seed
and divided daylily and glad mementos,
and other civilized plants whom we address by all their names,
(linnaean and nick),

Only the uninvited do we call "Weed"
Those are buddleia and asclepias, thank you,
not butterflyweed and milkweed.

We've sent out missionaries to live among the bind-, stick-, chick-,
dollar- and duckweed,
and quackgrass and nutgrass.
We've planted phlomis and silver germander (whose secret mission is to
choke them out),
and double flowering purple Datura.
(Jamestown weed has deep set roots in American soil,
plus it stops the cars and attracts neighbors.)

So too for those Beverly Sills irises from the garden festival,
who blooms loud and, unlike Mimi, stays oblivious to the
botanical rabble at her swollen feet.

But these floral stars are stranded here in this community of Darwin's
 fitter aristocrats,
a scrabbly alliance whose interwoven roots go deeper than I am ever
willing to dig 
on this shadeless corner
and so far from the places where I usually leave the shovel.

So I learn from some of them.
The thistle looks so wickedly armed it tricks you into leaving it alone
or going for the gloves.

But with gloves you can't feel the tender, drinking-straw stem 
to know if you are breaking it off. 
This is what it wants you to do, 
like the tear-away tailed lizards and purple hairstreak butterflies
whose hind wings look more like heads than their heads.

These soft-prickled weeds can be pulled barehanded.

You must  maintain as much contact as you can 
to spread a gentle pressure.
Hold too tight in one place and it breaks off its stalk: 
the part we know it by.
Unlike us,  its life is underground, but like us, so much of it is unseen.

Give it no sympathy.

Pull it so lowly you can't detect any progress, only the taproot's gentle resistance.

Your doubts and its hopes disappear together, for a while
undetected by you and your expiring partner.

But when the roots at last yield their sweet earthly grasp,
you are certain.

Still some win.

 

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More Weed Poetry to enjoy!  See Ergonica Weed Poetry Contest guidelines to enter your weed poetry

Musings of Dr. Yucca: Some weeds may deserve an appeal to your forgiveness.…



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