Tuesday, June 06, 2006

American Life in Poetry: Column 062


Gardeners who've fought Creeping Charlie and other unwanted plants may sympathize with James McKean from Iowa as he takes on Bindweed, a cousin to the two varieties of morning glory that appear in the poem. It's an endless struggle, and in the end, of course, the bindweed wins.


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. They sleep in my garden.
Each morning I evict them.
Each night more arrive, their leaves
small, green shrouds,
reminding me the mother root
waits deep underground
and I dig but will never find her
and her children will inherit
all that I've cleared
when she holds me tighter
and tighter in her arms.

Reprinted from "Headlong," University of Utah Press, 1987, by permission of the author, and first published in "Poetry Northwest," Vol. 23, No. 3, 1982. Copyright © 1982 by James McKean, whose most recent book is "Home Stand," a memoir published in 2005 by Michigan State University Press. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.

I don't have as ready access to internet so posts will be intermittent, brief, or as you can see, largely lifted from other sources. If you do not subscribe to the email version or read it regularly online or in a local paper you are missing a treat. I still need to read some more of Kooser's own work, which has been on my 'list' since his appearance in town several months back. The 'list', like the English Constitution, is unwritten and exists only on various scraps of paper, small notebooks and in my head.

I get to visit a new town in a couple weeks. Work is sending me on a brief trip to Lansing, MI. If anyone has any sightseeing or dining suggestions please let me know.

P.S. Is anyone else annoyed with the piece of crap spell-checker that comes with Blogger? I mean if Google can take over the world you think they would be able to use the same engines to spell check competently.


scruffylooking said...

Did your computer die on you or do you just not have internet access?

What a drag. I've found myself annoyingly dependent on the nets.

Dexter said...

Apparently not only Frost's fences but good firewalls also make for good neighbors. Drat.

scruffylooking said...

Man, that sucks. Viruses are a big fear of mine - computer and bird-type.