Saturday, May 7, 2011


This year I have enacted all out warfare on chickweed. You may not grow this jaunty fellow in your part of the world. Here the chickweed begins as an innocuous pincushion until the multiple antenna sprout up and flower. In that instant we either pull it, gently shaking multiple hair-fine roots from the ground, or we pull it too late and it explodes seeds in all directions.

Hopkins was obviously on a recreational walk over someone else’s land when he lauded the weed. I share his enthusiasm for spring green, birds and flowering trees, but not so much for the chickweeds.


by Gerard Manley Hopkins
 Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
   When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
   Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
   The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
   The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
   A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. — Have, get, before it cloy,
   Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
   Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

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