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“What is a weed?

A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered,”
Said Emerson,
America’s philosopher.
They are there
Pushing up through sidewalk cracks
Between bricks in a patio
Crawling up a stucco wall
Filling vacant lots on city blocks
Life force at its most unfettered
Why don’t we see them,
Showing off their color and strength?
We pass them by
Unless we are cursing
their intrusion into our perfect suburban lawns
Crabgrass
Dandelion
Goldenrod
Buttercup
Clover
Mallow
Yarrow
Nightshade
Colorful names for entities no one sees
Except when noting their
Misplacement
On the landscape
But look closely.
Ignore the lawn, the sidewalk, the patio –
Mere manmade pushes back against nature.
The plant itself. The weed.
Root, stem, leaf, flower, seed.
Veins, stamens, pistils, petals, blades.
Look closer:
Xylem, phloem, pith.
Pollen.
So fine, so invisible to the uncaring eye,
Yet the essence of life itself.
These weeds – their virtues undiscovered by most –
Each is perfect
Beautiful
Made so just by virtue of what it is.
More miraculous for the push of life
Without the benefit of nurture.
Orchids soak up the artificial light of bulb in a basement room,
But the weed is on its own, while part of a larger force.
Each one the very voice of nature:
“I am here. I cannot be stopped.”
Blake saw a heaven in a wild flower.
Here, in the indomitable weed:
Perfection, beauty, life,
And, yes –
Heaven.
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