Sisters From a Wild Bouquet ( Or, if you wish, Weeds With Personality


SISTERS FROM A WILD BOUQUET

By Kate

Is that a peacock at the roadside, head down,

pecking through the pebbles?

Is it a bouquet of small girls hiding,

teasing discovery by each lifting a pink plume?

Is that a dither, wind, or giggling heard

as each element of traffic passes,

too busy with proceeding

To be inquisitive,

amused,

or momentarily distracted by

Dotted Gayfeather?

 

Blue faces of Dayflower excite to meet the morning

from shade behind the trellis where the old crowfoot climbs.

The clematis is not fraught by the touch of adolescents

awed by the legend of his huge bloom

and privilege of the wires, stake, and lattice.

He is a big man in the eyes of Dayflower misses,

and revels in their morning frenzy of

sharp blue eyes with yellow focus

and mouths hung open wide.

They hug his ankles as they lean in schoolgirl bunches

to peek at education in the garden of strange plumpings,

to seek culture and refinement in the great level mask

of yard

all morning,

Until they fold pastel curiosity in afternoon repose.

 

 

In place well drained

where substance is abrasive:

alluvium, grassland, banks, bluffs, hillsides,

where broken surface calls for fairness

but might snag her dainty blanket,

Sensitive Briar stitches bipinnately compound leaflets,

tiny, tubular blooms

within shrouding projectile of pink stamens,

blushing, tipped with yellow antlers.

She flushes from positive and negative attention,

but keeps her wits with hooks

that offset apology and inhibition.

 

 

Musk Thistle is a heady lady with a violet temper.

She arrives early to punctuate the season.

She makes wings of simple things, cobwebby,

and towers with her overstatement in the pasture.

Though she prefers affluent ground, she abides less alluvial

disposition,

Wherever she can make tumultuous conversation,

and a point.

Harmony and satin skin is not the nature of all women,

nor wildflowers.

Nor should be.

She is a bawdy girl, this strong-willed thistle,

a farfetched beauty often stricken for her politics,

sharp tongue and lack of manners,

But in the meadow,

To those outside the hardship of her visit,

To those admiring, passing,

who do not know about darts hemmed

like jewels against her garment.

She is a lofty woman running through the field.

 

 

In the orange wind

from a sun that set like wild fire,

Slender Beardtongue, the brat weed,

jumps amid the gypsy band.

She tosses head of papery bells,

shakes reddish stem and dark green leaves

in mangle.

She strikes unlike companions as she dances

and fits herself to shreds

to claim a brief attention.

 

 

In pine woodland opening,

poking through a lukewarm mat of sun,

Pasque Flower Hamadryad rises near-naked from the heart

of earth, insightful of the growing season.

She pushes an impatient blossom quick with green fringe

to make early impact in full color, blue, blue-violet,

all furred and fine ahead of laggard basal,

And joins a proud parade of unaffected ladies

with cause to lecture Spring until it passes,

Then fluffs plume-achene regalia in company

to oscillate the spot, the woodland edge, the grasslands

For a second spectacle of smoke.

 

 

In shallow water above organic bottoms,

river oxbows, ponds,

where lake margin is calmed by aquatic vegetation,

a colony of dinner plates, green ladies,

lay on the water surface, “Shameless hussies,”

and bare their body parts,

Oval petals, yellow stamens, single pistil, rusty spot,

a hint of panties beneath white petticoat,

as spectators peek above the water line.

White water lilies think life is but a moment freedom,

comfort, and an instant passion.

Each lady sets uninhibited example

and responds to the potency of cloudy morning

before the glaring judgment of the sun.

 

 

In a place left dry, eroded, said done with all affection,

a subtle wench rises above the stones to tell her haunting story.

Purple Locoweed does not wear dark cloth, bun bristly hair

and claim discretion,

Nor dress in silk and slink about with promise of affection.

She does not seduce the usual appetite,

But those reduced

to her gaunt bloom and sharp leaves for forage

will find her an irregular delight,

wicked and exotic,

And will return, return, return to have mind twisted.

 

 

Once erotically appealing but cast from fantasy to fact,

Hayden’s Penstemon lands in shallow blowout sand

with her feminine effects--

green sewing needle, green thread,

green spoons of swollen beads and bells of color,

pink pouty lips and candle wax

and intoxicant perfume.

She was the best to be imagined, so never quite the truth,

Thrown out like a common trollop on an inartistic

reality of grit.

 

 

From sorority of sandy soil,

inquisitive of roadways, railways,

Field snake-cotton is a big-boned, sturdy girl

inconspicuously flowered with wool, not coiffure conscious,

but she has a head for business.

Sister Snake-cotton spreads out branches

to make somewhat more of herself, yet with little ostentation.

In healing blowout boardroom, they meet

to hybridize ecological efforts.

They go deep for answers with little lost to transpiration.

In tailored business suits they endure setback, calculate,

formulate, take corrective measures, and produce.

 

 

Solomon’s Seal likes the woodland, moist soil

and playful streams.

She rests her bunioned rhizome,

puts her down-to-earth face to breeze and to watch

the water

after a long day as nurse of sorts, as all women are,

with wounds to close,

bones to knit, bruise therapy,

and “tea” wisdom of the contraceptive.

She blooms in tubes and clusters,

almost green and almost white,

and carries on the tradition of dark berries

as she presses kisses in the way of nurses and mothers,

In hopes of making all things better.

 

 

Prairie Turnip acquires position in high-class grassland

by strength of root,

and keeps it with blue-violet concentration.

When family begins to swell within her wire womb,

she loses hue, and begins to tarnish,

as is sometimes the way of motherhood.

But this turnip gives beyond her figure, her social calendar,

for life of second generation

when she breaks from level ground and tumbles,

and throws her young, with tinker toys and dolls, to safety

From the blazing house of her demise.

 

 

The Compass Plant has a naturalness about her,

Is masculine if strength be so defined,

with stout and hirsute stem and willful stance.

She makes no detail of branches, wears leaves deeply notched,

lobed, and further notched, with veins pronounced on

almost leather.

Lower branches orient her to a north-to-south direction.

This comely female with yellow lights along her upper spine

is independent and not apt to lose her way.

Some say that makes her strange.

Some say “odd” for other reason,

That she is filled with ancient magic,

Linked to sudden light in troubled sky,

That man must sleep intimidated by her.

 

 

Dusk comes to the butte and extends a gray glove

to a smooth brow,

to tuck here, tuck there,

to put the day unworried, unwrinkled and gently down.

Miner’s Candle stands stout-stemmed, stiff,

whitely bristled in her sweater, silvery green, reflective,

and reads poetry from the book of landscape.

As it grows darker, darker, darker,

she sighs, sets the world aside,

And reaches to extinguish the last light on the hill.

 

 

Death Camass peeks

above the short-grass prairie

at the level of her lookout blossom

to watch

the sloe-eyed demon

snap parts

to satisfy a double-bellied hunger.

The air is noxious

with the smell of cud.

Not a favorite quarry to the cow,

she carries deterrent of poison in all parts

And her eyes are yellow daggers

on a face gone white with dread

As she looks

neurotically

in

all

directions.

 

 

Where the prairie falls from siege of drought

and wind takes three-quarter parcel,

Where grass shrivels back to save its strength

or dies flat out as ashes, much too dry to rot,

where wind blows over brown thatch, the cracked skin,

the broken back of prairie,

and powders a gray face like an angry woman,

Bigroot Prickly Pear

backpacks colonization, holds up her old with new.

She keeps the faith in her dark hearts

as she poises on edge with nettlesome persona

to fence and make sport of the harsh environment.

 

 

Waterleaf chooses her place setting beneath a parasol.

She protects glow of inner dew as she shades

the bugled cluster of her pale complexion.

She pats her face with a deep-notched filigree of palm

And nods appreciation to the hostess of the landscape

for soothing accommodation, company of peers,

and her invitation.

 

 

A silver nest blooms red-violet on a pocked escarpment:

Fifty raceme faces on a turf of a tired old face of stone.

Draba-Milk-vetch taproots through what time

has shifted, cracked to her advantage.

She is the bridal bouquet of broken marriage,

no youngster now,

Shucked of adolescent dreams and impracticalities,

with feet too-matter-of-course for glass slippers.

She wears hiking boots and denim on wire-work stiff foliage

and touches an old face through

the working gloves of pinched blossoms

As she tends foremost to her personal development.

 

 

Blue Vervain stands thin-faced, coarse-toothed, with blue flowers

in her bonnet

as she sucks trickled water into the long straw of her body

from the ditch.

She stretches upward, and sympathizes with

Cousin Hoary Vervain,

tall, thin, clustered, downy and curvaceous,

in the pasture where the grass is pinched to nubs.

Hoary tucks her collar at her throat and takes the sun bareheaded

as she flaunts unnoticed

where livestock discriminate for sweeter taste.

Blue waves for Hoary to stop foolish pretension

and consider her extraction, to like herself,

seek the grand adventure of treating putrid wounds,

ulcers, wens, and hardening of the arteries,

And to stand somewhere in the ditch,

at roadside, making something erect and colored of it

In an effort to be noticed for a good intention.

 

 

On a dry, sandy hillside,

among small pillows and starburst spikes with jute,

Pincushion Cactus bears witness to fertility

as she opens her red-violet flower

and gives green birth to optimistic fruit.

 

 

In May, Parsley,

a. k. a. Narrow-leaved Musineon throws down

her ragged blanket on an unsophisticated elevated spot,

and spreads fern-like appendages

and flat-topped clusters of vivid flowers

To take and give a yellow sun before the crowd of summer.

 

 

A mature woman, erect and plain,

thinks beyond her lost leaves and solitude

to appreciate products of her environment.

Nodding Lady’s-tresses twists white hair to a loose braid.

She nods a stately head as she remembers

particular events of an ordinary life,

and she smiles into the photo album

of her pleasant face on pleasant water.

 

 

Where the soil has set a banquet table

rich with moisture on leaf-bearing woodlands or at the river bluff,

Gumbo Evening Primrose emerges from the common clay

to take a late place in the line of one day’s passage.

She is a girl close to her roots, with rosette leaves,

and reverent from onset.

She lifts stalks to bear white flowers with a heart,

a heart,

a heart,

a heart in every blossom.

She proclaims late afternoon, night, through every morning.

And withers pink, red-violet before mid-day

To complete cycle of vocation

to trust,

to share,

to decorate with her ability,

to hold and love the land