Mar. 29th, 2011

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Chicory

by John Updike

Show me a piece of land that God forgot—
a strip between an unused sidewalk, say,
and a bulldozed lot, rich in broken glass—
and there, July on, will be chicory,

its leggy hollow stems staggering skyward,
its leaves rough-hairy and lanceolate,
like pointed shoes too cheap for elves to wear,
its button-blooms the tenderest mauve-blue.

How good of it to risk the roadside fumes,
the oil-soaked heat reflected from asphalt,
and wretched earth dun-colored like cement,
too packed for any other seed to probe.

It sends a deep taproot (delicious, boiled),
is relished by all livestock, lends its leaves
to salads and cooked greens, but will not thrive
in cultivated soil: it must be free.

"Chicory" by John Updike, from Americana and Other Poems. © Alfred A. Knopf, 2001. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

I was surprised and pleased to see this poem this morning in my Writers Workshop email. Leave it to a poet to say what I've tried to say myself about this lovely plant.  It has long been my favorite flower, and grows in profuse abundance along the highways here in West Virginia.  I love it's color, and it's perverse pleasure in pollution. It seems the more rank and odorous the air that surrounds it, the more the plant throws itself into spreading and flowering with lusty abandon.  I've never drank chickory, but I fully intend to some day.  I always think of my loveliest friend [livejournal.com profile] padiwack  when I think of this flower, because she often writes of drinking it.  I hope to share a cup with her over beignets some sultry morning in her beloved city!

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I've forgotten to tell you all a few things. 

Number one - I have become a HUGE Firefly fan over the weekend.  A co-worker loaned the entire series on DVD to Brent, and he's never managed to muster any interest.  I've wanted to watch it for some time, but never HAD the time, you know?  Well this weekend, I had lots of time.  I spent most of Saturday curled up on the living room sofa with a DVD in, surrounded by folded piles of laundry. 

I'm not done with the series yet, brief as it is, but DAAAMN!  WANT!  I wish wish WISH it were more than one season long, it's so GOOD!  I can almost TASTE IT. 

Spent the day with mom Sunday, helped her log into her email.  Not sure how long those instructions will last in her head, and her hand is rather shaky, keeping her from controlling the mouse properly. 

The bushes in the front and back yard are blooming.  I still haven't figured out what they are.  Doesn't matter I guess - they're so big that I couldn't remove them without causing some major damage to my yard.  I'm going to take out the magnolia that died last year and try to get a forsythia to grow there instead.  Not sure when I should plant it, better look that up.  And I need the front bed plowed for my hostas. 

Watched the first two episodes of "Mildred Pierce" Sunday night.  Kate Winslet, as usual, is brilliant.  Having read some reviews of the movie with Joan Crawford, I don't think I'll like where this story is going.  Still, I'm going to try and watch it all.  It's quite intriguing.  Missed watching "The 39 Steps" as a result of watching Mildred.  I'm hoping to catch it as a repeat this week.

Also watched "Stella Dallas" for the first time Sunday morning.  Cried and cried.   I should have Scarlett watch that one.  She wants to rent "The Nightmare Before Christmas" from Netflix.  I need to update my queue.

That's all the news that's fit to print at this point.  Love you guys!


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