Weeds and Wildflowers

  Weeds and Wildflowers 

When weeds become wildflowers 
 And wildflowers weeds, 
We vary cultivation 
 According to their needs. 
Whether hand-transplanted, 
 Or raised from suckled seeds 
Or broadcast cross’d a lawn, at last,
 Or cared for, for our needs: 
They all began as weeds. 

Lily of the Valley, Mint, 
 Chic’ry, Aster, Cress, 
On mountain path, by 
 Sandy-soiled bluffs, they’re best, 
Fertilized by vis’tors by, 
 Cold creek-watered or by the sky, 
Arbor-shaded place of rest, 
 Adorning critter’s nests: 
They all began as weeds. 

When, at last, they propagate, 
 Each spring with surly dew, 
And spread along the moistish ground, 
 With blazing colors new 
And present against the richly soiled
 Black and heaven’s blue, 
To welcome guests and passers-through, 
 Exclaiming, “I am true!”: 
They all began as weeds. 

Adamites, we gave them names, 
 And like Linnaeus, classified. 
Genus, species, plots, and rows, 
 Gardened, stocked, and stratified. 
Country square or city park, 
 On alters, testified, 
Aesthetically, they ratified, 
 With blooms, satisfied: 
They all began as weeds. 

Some wildflowers find homes at hearth, 
 Others to weed return. 
Others still invade our lawns, 
 A former love, we spurn. 
On hills, some petals, still we cherish, 
 Others, still, allowed to perish, 
Some loved, before they’re born, 
 Like our flowers fraught, forlorn: 
They all began as weeds. 

Style, science, truth and knowledge 
 Cull, separate and thin. 
Garden accent or center star, 
 Assign their place therein. 
Now sublime or now invasive, 
 We’d rather pull than trim 
        (Once in vogue, we’d sing in praise of, 
        The named and loved ones win. 
        Nigh weeds, nor wild, nor garden star)
We’re left with memories afar, 
 Exchanging known for what might come, 
Or raise our sense of beauty’s bar. 

Not every species wins. 
We all began as weeds.


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