Thursday, May 13, 2010

Yarrow by Andrea Gibson

My lovely lady Yarrow, May 2010

Yarrow stalks are traditionally thrown to read the I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination. Several years ago I dried enough Yarrow to make my own 50 I Ching sticks.  I am still studying the I Ching. 

Yarrows botanical name, Achillea millefolium refers to the ancient Greek hero Achilles, who, during the Trojan War, reputedly used it to treat his wounds. Its specific name means ‘a thousand leaves’ and refers to its feathery foliage. The folk name Nosebleed confirms its traditional use as an emergency styptic.

Looking down at Ms. Yarrow's heart, May 2010

Yarrow's feathery, delicate leaves betray her amazing strength and ancient lineage.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

by Andrea  Gibson

We packed our lives into the back of your truck
and drove two thousand miles
back to the only home you'd ever known.
On the bayou you ate crawfish
and god how I wished I had never become a vegetarian.

Here, whatever you came carrying
fell to the ground like Creole swamp rain.
Uptown you could watch the jazz notes float
from porch swings to sidewalks
of little girls playing jump rope and hopscotch,
to old women skipping rocks
across the gulf of the Mississippi
like heart beats they forgot they had,
while mid-city trombones
wrote love poems in lonely men's ears.

For a year we were gardeners.
"No, Andrea, yarrow doesn't grow here,
imagine a womb full of water,
plant like you would plant a daughter,
name her Iris, Rose, Magnolia, Gardenia."

You could hold the soil between your fingers
and smell gumbo and harmonicas.
Could smell po-boys and cathedrals on the same block.
"What do ya mean, you don't talk to strangers?
Come inside and see a picture of my son,
he raises hell, but he's a good one..."
Iris Rose, Magnolia, Gardenia,
when I heard of Katrina
I thought, "The flowers, save the flowers..."

I never thought for a second
we wouldn't save the people.

From:  Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, pages 11, 12 (This book is overflowing with amazing poetry!)


lakeviewer said...

I'm going to be here for a while, enjoying the music, the lesson, the poetry. Ahi!

Sue said...

That's a powerful poem...sort of lulls you in and then WHAM.

Quite beautifully done, really.



Kelly said...

Wow! This is powerful, both the imagery AND the message!! (I was watching the coverage thinking of the animals -dogs- rather than the flowers)

That second photo of the yarrow is marvelous!

Marion said...

Rosaria, I'm glad you're enjoying your visit. Put your feet up and stay a spell. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

Sue, all of Andrea Gibson's work is powerful. She does slam poetry and I have two CD's of her performing. She's a whirlwind with words. Check her out on YouTube if you get a chance. Blessings!

Kelly, glad you like my Yarrow photos. I can't resist their soft, pretty little leaves every year. You know, I cried last week listening to a show on Louisiana Public Broadcasting about the ancient old Oak trees lost in Katrina. I just boo-hooed when they said 70% of them were gone. I mean, when I even think "New Orleans" in my mind, I see the mighty Oaks. And now the horror of all that oil pumping into the Gulf. It just kills me when I think of the devastation of wildlife to come to my precious state. God help us. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

Funny, I can just smell that ferny yarrow, so yellow green and tender fresh.

Nice post, sad too, but then we go on, hopeful...

Wine and Words said...

Oh Marion, this makes me miss our trip. We would be there...right now...the gumbo, the crawfish, hearts beat we forgot we had. Soon...promise me...soon....


quid said...

Beautiful poem and pictures, ML!!