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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ars Viridis Poetica

On marginal land where there's little but sand
Where the hardiest medicines grow.
In soils poor, without animal manure,
Lacking bright light from the sky,
A strand of bare earth, that's abandoned or cursed,
Is where the heal for many ills lie.

The most potent cures, often abjured
From the abused corners of our good land,
In favor of pills, we've increased our own ills,
And forgotten the solutions at hand.

These pioneers, once foraged by seers,
Healed and nourished our clan.
Now come to learn what you're meant to discern,
The difference between a boon, or a ban.


Thus to the rubbish I'll make my next step,
And see what grows for cures this day.
By the bulldozer's rusted stacks,
Medicines take over to stuff in my sack.

Purple Foxglove thrive, though just a bit,
A heart-valve astringent . . . so I take just a snip.
Stalks of Mullein straight and tall
I pinch soft leaves to smoke this fall.



And when the pollen starts flying
Herbs have their maximum power,
From hairs of their roots, to their fruits which are dying.
Energy moves towards seed, from the flower.



I combed my fingers through a Hemlock bed,
And bring up radiant Golden Thread.
Like the extract of venerable Neem!
Refreshing as leaves of Wintergreen.
Boiled, dried, or slaked by tincture,
An antibiotic mixture makes wounds cure.



By summer's end . . . after eight weeks of rain
I saw St. John's Wort by the trail again.
What's abundant on earth is what I gather,
What nature knows, is what I'd rather.


In the clearing clumps of grassy sod,
Grew masses of yellow Golden Rod.
And a delicate umbelliform alit with sparrows,
A plant none other than Warrior's Yarrow.

Ancient heroes called Woundwort
To stem the flow, of precious blood.
This aster offers many uses,
Nosebleeds, cuts, aches, and bruises.
Indian tobacco my son Arjun found
A group growing, by the station ground.
Raspberry leaves, lush and plenty,
In the gravely soils of the Shingle Shanty.

Berry tea is good for women
When combined with Labrador tea's rustic tannin,
Raspberry found on mounds of hardpan,
More savory than green teas from Japan.





When blanched red meat has a pale taste,
Crush leaves of Sweetgale, and then baste.
Bog Myrtle tea aids the liver,
Repels mosquitoes, add that to your quiver!
Like Artemisia she'll compound your dreams,
And cure acne, when applied with steam.
Careful ladies, if you are heavy with child,
She'll induce labor, with a birth that is wild!


Then from New Haven backyard weeds,
I grind up Datura's tiny seeds.
Before it asthma shrinks and faints
Smoked with Mullein eases complaints.
Careful though of the nightshade's power,
Of Datura, potato, or the Brugmansia flower.

Shamans of Peru, and worshippers of Shiva,
Know Datura's truly regal.
Visions of stars and Andromeda far.
Prove she's no flightless eagle.

Take too much she'll fly you away,
Far from Earth where you'll no longer play.
Your sight will dim, your limbs grow weary,
Be respectful of the Thorn-apple fury.


What weed sprouts on Chernobyl's radioactive lots?
Grows here too, in abandoned spots.
Apollo's sister sent outside,
To forage amongst sticks and dirt.
Her solar brother took his chariot to ride,
While she healed the sick with this herb.

Artemisia, or Mugwort, looks like sedge,
I found some growing by Whitney bridge.
I packed a pillow to promote my dreams,
She's found in parking lots, or by streams.

A divine appointment, approved by quorum
From Central America Salvia Divinorum
An avoided sage with hollow square stem
The active diterpenoid, is called salvinorin.

Into Salvia's frothy suds,
I sinned with a pinch of Cannabis buds.
On dear old smoke I often feed,
In case you're wondering, I'm speaking of weed.












Then in September atop our college hill
Plantain and amaranth grow rich in swill
Add to granola, Pigweed's nutrition-rich seeds,
An abundance of salads grow as neglected weeds.

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