Friday, August 08, 2008

Poetry Friday -- Revulsion


Bindweed
by James McKean

There is little I can do
besides stoop to pluck them
one by one from the ground,
their roots all weak links,
this hoard of Lazaruses popping up
at night, not the Heavenly Blue
so like silk handkerchiefs,
nor the Giant White so timid
in the face of the moon,
but poor relations who visit
then stay.
(read the rest here)

I know that at least two of my readers went "GACK!" when they saw my poem for today. The very sight of bindweed makes them clench their teeth and snarl.

It would take a poem about graffiti, or logging roads in the wilderness, or abortion clinic protesters to get that same reaction out of me.

And it makes me wonder if one of the jobs of a poet is to take us gently by the chin and turn our head and make us look -- really look -- at the things that most repulse us. It is their job to show us it's not really that bad after all...or else that it's worse than we ever could have imagined.

The round up this week is at Becky's Book Reviews.

7 comments:

  1. What a great poem about an apparently not-so-great plant. I'm not familiar with Bindweed, but we've got every other kind of intruder in our yard.

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  2. I love your description of a poet's job: "to take us gently by the chin and turn our head and make us look..."

    You've made me turn and look today. I would've said bindweed was a fantasy plant, used to restrain dragons or other magical creatures. :)

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  3. Wow, what a fabulous poem. Spooky, really, but completely true about bindweed. I have to admit that I simply left it alone in the garden, ripped it away from where I didn't need it, and burned (with a tiny butane torch) those spots where other plant seedlings needed time to grow, and I absolutely COULD NOT have it strangling things, but otherwise, I really don't mind it. It's so pretty.

    I'm a masochist, though; I actually plant morning glories...

    I love the last line, about being held closer and closer...

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  4. I'm stunned! Two out of three commenters have not heard of bindweed?!?! ASTONISHING!

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  5. Lovely poem about a diabolical sort of plant. It is indeed the poet's job "to take us by the chin and turn our head and make us look". (I believe I'm going to quoteskim that for Sunday's post, in fact - so lovely.)

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  6. I'm always struggling with the bindweed in my garden-- it creeps in insidiously, and somehow manages to wrap around something multiple times before I've even seen it spring up. I think I wouldn't mind it so much if it actually bloomed!

    FYI, one of Cecily Barker's flower fairies is a Bindweed.

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  7. I tend to let it go too, just ripping it out of where I want something else to flourish. But then, I am a haphazard gardener and love any little bloom that stubborn.

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