Among the Weeds

At first I did not know

how to tend the lawn

I despaired of the weeds

pushing their arms and shoulders

everywhere like a green

horde of unshaven barbarians

 

My fingers, calloused from

the hoe, eyes blinking tears

of grit, I pouted my aching back

against comforting walls, protesting

defeat before the real battle had begun

 

One foot at a time, she said

each day set yourself its effort. It all

seemed so pointless - as I grasped

and pulled with broken nails and

spirit, the army grew back like ants

pouring from a nest

 

But it didn’t deter her, there she

was putting me to shame, inch by

inch, patiently parting the blades,

extracting the invaders, one by one

her skirts around her, she looked

like a pool cleaning robot advancing

steadily, wordless

 

When I first tried to write, it was

like that, words of others around me,

mountains of them shouting to be

heard. Like black mould they crawled

across every opened page. How was I

to find a blade of honest grass in

all that confusion?

 

Each day I practiced hopefully, then

beheld the advance of weedy clichés,

read Keats, Auden, Frost, sighed again

 

Now, years later I’m still trying

still sighing, but every now and then

among the weeds a thrust of fleshy

substance pokes itself and gratefully I grasp

and gaze as on the page my eyes discern

a mushroom.. a crocus.. manna?

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© Johnmichael Simon

2007

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