Friday, June 02, 2006

poem for a lowly harbinger of spring

From Poetry 180:

Dandelion

Julie Lechevsky

My science teacher said
there are no monographs
on the dandelion.

Unlike the Venus fly-trap
or Calopogon pulchellus,
it is not a plant worthy of scrutiny.

It goes on television
between the poison squirt bottles,
during commercial breakaways from Ricki Lake.

But that's how life
parachutes
to my home.

Home,
where they make you do
what you don't want to do.

Moms with Uzis of reproach,
dads with their silencers.
(My parents watch me closely because I am their jewel.)

So no one knows how strong
a dandelion is inside,
how its parts stick together,
bract, involucre, pappus,
how it clings to its fragile self.

There are 188 florets in a bloom,
which might seem a peculiar number,
but there are 188,000 square feet
in the perfectly proportioned Wal-Mart,
which allows for circulation
without getting lost.

I wish I could grow like a dandelion,
from gold to thin white hair,
and be carried on a breeze
to the next yard.

from Poems & Plays, Number 8, Spring/Summer 2001
University of Arkansas Press

Copyright 2001 by Julie Lechevsky.
All rights reserved.

4 Comments:

Blogger Ceebie said...

Teabird, this is an interesting poem: a good reflection on what we value as nature and what we don't...There's a nice allusion to the objectivity of science and botany vs. the personal connection the poet feels in relation to the dandelion.

I'm curious though what your reasons were for selecting this particular poem? What do you see in it?

5:40 PM  
Blogger Ceebie said...

Teabird, this is an interesting poem: a good reflection on what we value as nature and what we don't...There's a nice allusion to the objectivity of science and botany vs. the personal connection the poet feels in relation to the dandelion.

I'm curious though what your reasons were for selecting this particular poem? What do you see in it?

5:40 PM  
Blogger teabird17 said...

How annoying - I posted a long reply last night, and Blogger ate it. Bad Blogger! I can't completely reconstruct it, but here's a synopsis:

I selected the poem because of the themes of conformity and strength. The poet's parents want the poet to be a jewel, but not the jewel she was born to be. Society wants to define beauty and purpose - Wal-Mart is a thing of beauty, right: it must be, else why would so many of them spring up in our culture, like weeds? A dandelion is a weed, noxious to the masses, and yet it's a miracle of strenth,complexity and grace as its seeds float by. I identify strongly with these themes, and I love how they are put together in this poem -

6:48 AM  
Blogger Paula said...

Oh Teabird I really liked that poem. What a great selection for today’s times and values.
Some day’s I really feel like a deeply rooted strong dandelion and love the verse:
“I wish I could grow like a dandelion,
from gold to thin white hair,
and be carried on a breeze
to the next yard”
From the vitality of birth to fragility of death, that is what that line says to me.
I actually accept their purpose in life just like the Wal-Mart’s that keep popping up everywhere like the dandelion’s.

1:01 PM  

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