Another Poem by David

February 10, 2015

I have always been amazed and a little bit scared by the power of Kudzu to take over a long stretch of southern highway.   David Lanier’s poem of the same name elevates that awe and fright to a metaphor for the thrill of exploring all forbidden things when young.

 

THE POWERS OF KUDZU

 

He’d heard all the warnings: how

its vines could grow a foot or more

in a single summer day, could haul down

telephone lines, smoother scrub-pine,

swallow a sweetgum whole.

Cocker spaniels had been lost in it,

they said, and a baby girl almost snared

in the loop of one thin tendril.

 

But when he looked at kudzu

long enough – alone, staring down

into the thick leafy weave between

Water Street and the railroad track –

it began to show him all

the objects hoarded in its deep green

pockets: bright chunks of coal, flakes

of mica, a set of rusted mattress

springs, flattened tin cans,

a hubcap jeweled in sunlight.

 

And whose eye was that

blinking through leaf shadow?   Whose

gold tooth?   He leaned further

and further over the embankment’s

edge, balancing with his bike,

until its leaves reached out

to lick an ankle, until he caught himself

shivering all over.

 

 

David Lanier’s award-winning poems about his childhood in North Carolina appear in “Lost and Found,” and may be purchased on-line via Kindle (Amazon.com)

 

 

 

 

 

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