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Disturbed Earth by Margaret Atwood

Jocelyn Campbell

Joined: Nov 09, 2008
Posts: 3082
Location: Missoula, MT
A dear friend, Sue Woods, gave Paul and me a copy of this poem after hearing about the mullein video:

Disturbed Earth

Disturbed earth:  some plants sprout quickly in it.
Sow thistles come to mind.
After you've wrenched them out
they'll snake back underground
and thrust their fleshy prickled snouts in
where you intended hostas.

Hawkweek will do that. Purslane. Purple vetch.
Marginals, hugging ditches,
flagrant with seed,
strewing their paupers' bouquets.

Why is it you reject them,
them and their tangled harmonies
and raffish madrigals?
Because they thwart your will.

I feel the same about them:
I hack and dig,
I stomp their pods and stems,
I slash and crush them. Still,

suppose I make a comeback -
a transmutation, say -
once I've been spaded under?
Some quirky growth or ambush?

Don't search the perennial border:
look for me in disturbed earth.

     --Margaret Atwood

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subject: Disturbed Earth by Margaret Atwood