Monday, July 5, 2010

Born Free: Milkweed

I am saving my words for my poetry, choosing carefully. My body is tired from biking and clambering down bluffs, swimming and diving, and dancing, oh yes, there were hours of dancing yesterday. For me, the 4th of July is the day I declare my own independence and encourage others to remember that we are all born free.

Like milkweed. Born free, flourishing in fields all over the island right now. Here is a photo of the young shoots last May. They are delicious to eat, but must be boiled in two changes of water for eight minutes each so as to nullify the toxic white sap that spurts from them when you slice the stalk with the tiny knife in your pocket.

And here is a photo of the salad I made from milkweed flowers last week.

And here is a poem by James Wright that beautifully expresses the delicacy and allure of this Queen of the Meadows.


While I stood here, in the open, lost in myself,
I must have looked a long time
Down the corn rows, beyond grass,
The small house,
White walls, animals lumbering toward the barn.
I look down now. It is all changed.
Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
Loving me in secret.
It is here. At the touch of my hand,
The air fills with delicate creatures
From the other world.

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