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Poem: "Weed by Weed" - The Wordsmith's Forge — LiveJournal
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "Weed by Weed"

Here is today's freebie, prompted by ellenmillion and jenny_evergreen who wanted to see the garden behind Monster House. Silverbell is my conceptualization of a fey version of bindweed, inspired by a nursery rhyme line ("with silver bells and cockle shells"). Both moly and raskovnik are mythical plants.


Weed by Weed


I sat on the back porch watching my daughter
help the bogeyman to weed the garden.

The gremlins had tracked in silverbell seeds again,
fine and dark as pepper grains,
and now the wiry stems twined around the tomatoes
and the pole beans,
tinkling with every breeze.

There was moly in the garden, too,
dangerous for mortal hands to remove,
so the bogeyman carefully touched it to shrivel the plants,
leaving just one white flower that had sprouted in a pot
in case anyone needed protection from magic.

Presently the bogeyman handed my daughter a basket,
and together they pretended to pick flowers,
meticulously bending and plucking
and depositing nothing but air.

I strolled over to the garden.
"All right, what are you two picking?"
I asked.

"We're picking raskovnik,"
my daughter said. 
"It opens locks."

"So that's how the bogeyman gets around,"
I said with a chuckle.
I peered into the empty basket.
"Doesn't look like you've got much, though."

My daughter giggled.
"It's invisible, silly!"

"Then how do you find it?"
I asked.

"Oh, he  can see it," she said,
nodding at the bogeyman.
"I have to do it differently."
Then she brushed her fingers
over what looked like a row of clover,
pinching at the air again.
"If I feel a plant under my fingers,
but when I look for it nothing's there,
then I know it's raskovnik."

Her necklace swayed gently as she worked,
its violet gaze overlooking the small garden,
her own sightless eyes closed as she enjoyed the sun.

"Shoo," the bogeyman said.  "Shoo!"
His foot nudged at something I couldn't see.

"Oh dear," my daughter said,
"the gremlin's in the garlic chives again."

I recalled the pizza-belch reek
that had been dogging her presence for days.
"So that explains the smell," I muttered.

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Current Mood: busy busy

24 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: August 16th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
*giggles*
kelkyag From: kelkyag Date: August 16th, 2011 08:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Cute! I wonder how much of this the neighbors could see, or if this looks to them like make-believe in the garden.

Interesting that the eye of fate also can't see the raskovnik, and that the daughter speaks casually of looking at things now.
janetmiles From: janetmiles Date: August 16th, 2011 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
that the daughter speaks casually of looking at things now

I've been thinking about that sort of thing ever since I noticed that a woman I know, who has used a wheelchair pretty much all her life, talks casually about "walking around the yard" and "tripping over a hole in the ground".
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

Different people deal with handicaps in different ways, and that can influence how they talk. In this case, a blind character has found substitutes for eyesight. What she winds up with is not quite the same as conventional vision, but close enough that she can adapt and think of it in similar ways.

Contrast that with Rai, over in Torn World, who thinks very strongly in terms of his other senses and only rarely pays attention to the vague visual images he can perceive.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 03:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Well...

Raskovnik can only be seen by chthonic creatures, those associated with the underworld -- hedgehogs, snakes, and tortoises were among the examples given. I figured that the bogeyman would reasonably count.
jenny_evergreen From: jenny_evergreen Date: August 16th, 2011 08:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Perfect! Thank you!
fayanora From: fayanora Date: August 16th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Invisible flowers and weeds fatal to mortals. Cool! :-D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 04:01 am (UTC) (Link)

Yes...

I had fun figuring out what would be in the garden, besides the usual.
bkwrrm_tx From: bkwrrm_tx Date: August 17th, 2011 12:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I want to live in this world. :-)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

I'm flattered.

*chuckle* Keep your eyes open. It's closer than most people think, just not necessarily as conspicuous.
eseme From: eseme Date: August 17th, 2011 12:45 am (UTC) (Link)
That's great! I love all the exotic plants, and the addition of the gremlin.

I enjoy the rhythm of these poems.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you!

Yeah, gremlins in the garden can be more hassle than cats and dogs.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: August 17th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC) (Link)
The title had me singing "inch by inch, row by row" in my head as I read; was that a-purpose?
http://www.arlo.net/resources/lyrics/garden-song.shtml
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 17th, 2011 01:11 am (UTC) (Link)

*laugh*

Yes, indeed it is.
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: August 17th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

This song brings to mind the canal-side pub where my mother waited tables as a kid; the local band loved this song. And "all God's creatures."

Which makes me think both of musical monsters, and pub/canal/small town/tourist trap monsters.

Um. Not both, apparently, as now... "some sing low, some sing higher, some sing out loud on the telephone wire..." has some interesting gremlin, ghost in the machine (good anime) images.

and THERE is the brainstorming mojo I was missing earlier.
my_partner_doug From: my_partner_doug Date: August 17th, 2011 02:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

The lyrics for the "Anti-Garden Song" are by Eric Kilburn. Here's the full set:

Slug by slug, weed by weed
My Garden's got me really teed
All the insects love to feed
Upon my tomato plants
Sunburned face, scratched-up knees
My kitchen's choked with zucchinis
I'm shopping at the A&P
Next time I get a chance

The crabgrass grows, the ragweed thrives
The broccoli has long since died
The only things still left alive
Are some radishes & beans
My carrot plants are dead & gone
Hear the rabbits sing a happy song
Until you've weeded all day long
You don't know what boredom means.

You get up early, work til late
Watch moles & mice get overweight
They eat their dinners on a plate
From the hard work you have done
As ye sow, so shall ye reap
But I smell like a compost heap
I'm gonna get that lousy creep
Who said gardening was fun.

[The 'crow' verse in the Arlo link you provided is actually the second half of the second verse of the original "Garden Song" lyrics.]
aldersprig From: aldersprig Date: August 17th, 2011 02:32 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: *laugh*

I think I like the original better :-D The Anti-garden song is fun, though.

((And I picked lyrics somewhat at random; I learned the song at the age of 4 or 5, so it's a bit fuzzy))

I miss my garden.
the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: August 18th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Hee!
filkferengi From: filkferengi Date: August 22nd, 2011 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fun poem! You just know they're swapping visits with Morwen from Wrede's _Enchanted Forest Chronicles_.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: April 4th, 2013 05:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Very Good!

This poem comes at the perfect time since I'll be out in the yard weeding and planting soon!
I keep wondering how the daughter and the bogeyman would manage faced with crabgrass?
(My garden is nicknamed the Growlery.)
:)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 4th, 2013 05:56 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very Good!

>>This poem comes at the perfect time since I'll be out in the yard weeding and planting soon!<<

Yay! Same here.

>>I keep wondering how the daughter and the bogeyman would manage faced with crabgrass?<<

Probably like they do everything else: a lot of elbow grease and a little death-magic.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: April 4th, 2013 01:24 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very Good!

Makes me wish I had a friendly bogeyman to come help me weed!
:D
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 4th, 2013 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very Good!

You and me both.
From: rhodielady_47 Date: April 5th, 2013 03:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Very Good!

If all he did was kill out the honeysuckle for me that would be a huge help.
I hate that weed-of-a-thousand-runners.
So NOT good and it's waking up...
:{
24 comments or Leave a comment