Saturday, 20 June 2009

Dandelions


Worm, no mean observer of nature, commented on my last post that dandelions are also expected in bumper quantities this year. Given his comment, I would guess that Kevin, another nature lover, welcomes this. However, I don't.

(Isn't it great to partake in the mighty clash of opposing world-views? It's what blogging is all about.)

Anyway, I believe Jon Silkin would have been in the anti-dandelion camp. He captures their rather creepy, unwholesome qualities in another of his flower poems, 'Dandelion':


Dandelion

Slugs nestle where the stem
Broken, bleeds milk.
The flower is eyeless: the sight is compelled
By small, coarse, sharp petals,
Like metal shreds. Formed,
They puncture, irregularly perforate
Their yellow, brutal glare.
And certainly want to
Devour the earth. With an ample movement
They are a foot high, as you look.
And coming back, they take hold
On pert domestic strains.
Others' lives are theirs. Between then
And domesticity,
Grass. They infest its weak land;
Fatten, hide slugs, infestate.
They look like plates; more closely
Life the first tryings, the machines, of nature
Riveted into her, successful.

[from Nature with Man, 1965]

UPDATE: I've just remembered my Nain used to claim that coming into contact with dandelion 'milk' would make you pee. Another negative.

3 comments:

Kevin Musgrove said...

The young leaves taste good, sliced fine and fried with a bit of bacon; the roots need to be very finely-sliced if they're not to be too chewy for words but otherwise taste like chicory root or salsify; the flowers make a resin-flavoured wine; and the bees love 'em.

And they make you pee if you eat enough of them. Utilitarian as well as pretty. (-:

Gadjo Dilo said...

You can also make very good (if slightly glutinous) wine out of them!

Good poem, though. Somehow for me "They look like plates" is the most damning line of all.

worm said...

I've posted yet another dandelion themed post on my blog too!

the french call dandelions 'pisenlit' - 'wet the bed' for its diuretic properties!