Loosestrife
by Joyce Wilson 

 
"The leafy plant, which usually grows about five feet tall, pops up mostly in areas that have been disturbed."         P. J. Skerrett, The Boston Globe.


We drive to this land of vacation 
where acres of stubble and standing water

left by the loggers (long ago gone)
have been taken over by a magenta flower

that compensates for the upheaval 
by sealing the lowlands 

with a blanket of green stalks sporting purple flames
like banners erected to attract non-natives.

We have read about the voracious 
appetite of the water-loving plant,

but now we find the vision inspiring,
look out and admire the blossomís luxuriance,

dream of staying through the winter
in a season of summery bliss,

and we fall in, soon enough, with the Lotos Eaters,
who show no will to do us harm,

who would instruct us on the proper etiquette
for ingesting flowers and forfeiting power.

We forget that we have come here to return home.
At night we dream and forget our dreams.

We become convinced that we are as disturbed as the land, 
that to lose strife is to gain everything.

Then the sunís lance and echoes of the meadowlark
remind us of Yeatsís land of islands,

and we are brought to our senses.
The dove-gray pages fill with footholds of ink 

and we open our minds to know
what the poets surrounded by water know: 

that indolence gives way to make music
and amethyst prerequisite for joy.
 

Copyright © 1999 by Joyce Wilson. 
To appear in Descant, summer 1999.



 
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