I’m reading Paul Zweig. This is the ninth poem in the first section of his Selected and Last Poems, followed by my response. See here for details. I’ll remove Zweig’s poems after one week to prevent egregious copyright infringement.
by Paul Zweig
I will name nature’s poisons. . . .
[Remainder of poem removed 8-31-05]
* * * *
I dreamed I drove a sprayer truck
slowly along the berm of a road
in prayerful silence.
Behind me, the red letters of sumac leaves
& my rubber gloves shone
like the udders of a cow,
all for the crown vetch
& its hateful pink.
I name the invaders:
buffel grass, barberry, knotweed,
kudzu, privet, leafy spurge.
Cursed be houndstongue & snakehead,
stiltgrass & tree-of-heaven.
A plague on every scourge
of purple loosestrife, hemlock
woolly adelgid, cane toad;
the European rabbit down under,
demonstrating its fabled gift
for multiplication in the wrong abode;
Australian eucalypt in California
stretching resinous leaves toward
the redwood’s portion of the sky;
Far from their native countries,
free of restraints, the immigrants
do not swarm; they mob.
They lodge in the earth like shrapnel.
When they sprout,
they are already in full uniform.
The Greeks called them Spartoi,
The only way to get rid of them
was to pit them against each other.
I dreamed of skinning feral cats
& selling their meat at auction:
Fresh mutton, I chanted.
They were slick with the fat of tanagers.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Them bones
- The pure distance
- Becoming grass
- The fears and pleasures
- Written by the vanquished
- Waiting for the detonation
- Green plague
- That great invention
- To greet the quietness
- Advancing into sleepless woods
- How else?
- What remains
- My life as a landlubber
- Perfect night
- Above the ears, below the waist
- In lieu of listening
- Black stone, yellow field
- City of changes
- The fresh chance
- Too much
- A beach in hell
- When it breaks
- The burden of becoming human
- In slough time
- Restoring the words
- String theories
- Parcels of pure voice
- An undulant map
- Stone-blue winter
- Foreign matter
- Always present
- A sown darkness
- Woods and water
- Fish tales