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Poem: In Admiration of Weeds

Books & Poetry

The weeds we love to hate are maybe not so bad after all, Claire Belberg suggests in her contribution for this week’s Poet’s Corner.

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In Admiration of Weeds

What, you say, did weeds ever do for the world?
Fennel and dandelion
arrowdock and thistle
rye grass and bridal creeper
bindii and burr:
opportunists, invaders, nutrient-sapping neighbours
to the desired, the beautiful, the planned and the tame.

Shudder at the clash of soursob’s tangy yellow
against the dusty rose of hellebore.
Wince as asparagus fern’s delicate tracery
pierces the peaceable hydrangea.
Rend the soft lace of foul-named fumitory
embracing the fashionably grotesque ponytail.

These runaway successes
capeweed, Spanish broom
taunt you
Salvation Jane, plantain
haunt you
onion grass, pampas grass
tease you with their rampant, illicit growth.

As you rip them out
and poison them
and dig them out
swearing as they tear you with defiant thorns
enjoy their blatant beauties
reclaim their stolen food value
honour your enemy’s incorrigible persistence
that draws the same from you.

To the weeds!

Claire Belberg lives in the Adelaide Hills, where her garden is one of the big inspirations for her poetry. She has had her poems and short stories published in ‘Tales From the Upper Room’, Tabor College creative writing anthologies and the anthology ‘Women’s Work: A Collection of Contemporary Women’s Poetry’. A novel, ‘The Golden Hour’, came out last year from Stone Table Books. She has a blog that can be found here.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.


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