In Favor of Weeds

Great nations rally behind the goldenrod, the thistle.
Let us never disregard the dandelion clock,
spraying spumes of white seed into the wind
like a hapless ruffian atop a thin stalk.

You say buttercups grow on their own.
No one plants them. They just come.
You love the wild life. Careless invasion, chaos.

Cushag, Cankerwort, Mare's Fart,
Dog Standard, Stammerwort, Stinking Ninny-
How can anyone hate the helpless ragweed?
Your sheep sick, and make a fairy's field
of mini golden tansies come spring.

I tell you about the widow's weed: not a weed at all,
but a cloth worn in times of mourning.
A symbol, a memorial, a warning.

Mother in the backyard, lets her weeds
grow for years. She wants Jacob to pull them,
her favorite son. She tends them until his return;
meanwhile they choke her plumeria to death.

Yellow starthistle, America hates you,
the way your golden body taints her soil.
But your kin are the icon of Scotland.
And prickly burdock, your slender root
is a delicacy in Japan, pickled or stewed.

Let me remind you of daisy chains - girls
sat in circles in the school yard, gossiping,
making bracelets and necklaces
from linked weeds. The first jewelry.

One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Every place has its own weeds.

Aiko Harman

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