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Clearing Weeds

by Nancy Clark
Once someone laid the bricks to build the walk
Before my house, cut squares and laid them in
Diagonal design. Years hence his work
Was met at either end by poured cement.
All up and down the block were swept-clean walks,
But mine grew weeds that wanted up and out,
To smother and reclaim the ground for green.

My childhood pride in place could not abide
The look, unkempt, not like the way we lived.
So I abandoned play and books and mates
From time to time, my chosen work to tear
Each weed up by its root, no care for time,
Just purpose bound. I knelt and tugged and dug
My fingers in the dirt to pinch and pull
And pile the unfit weeds. A patch complete,
I swept it hard, and pleased with progress, thus,
I bent again and on, til dusk and stinging fingers
Told me halt. My bricks, well-groomed, lay freed.
The weeds, I knew, would surge, offend again.
And I would bend to clear the way once more.

Today I still may feel the need to wrench
Some taunting, flourishing weeds that hold their ground
Where purpose likes them not. But I refrain,
For these worn hands and unabundant time
Arrest my reach and say, "Make choice of weeds."

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Copyright © 2000 by Nancy Clark. All rights reserved.