by Paul Perry
In the field -
to be seen even in the dark.
Think on it - after the gravel paths,
after the roads - uneven and achingly long,
across the cold promise the border makes
to a sloping field, to a ditch.
More than that I remember the flat-seed pouch:
weed some call it, as if to flourish and seed
in the poorest soil is to be just that.
They are everywhere now -
it seems to me,
populating my field of vision
like a generative disease, an affliction.
a man walks into a field.
A field with shepherd's purse.
Shepherd's Purse. (Source: adama.com)
In the parts I left out above, something traumatic happens in the middle of the peaceful field full of shepherd's purse. Paul Perry is from Ireland, but traumatic things happen everywhere, in the middle of peaceful fields and peaceful streets and peaceful lives. I loved the way the poet here puts the emphasis on the traumatic thing and on the peaceful surroundings, both. Both are real. Forever after, seeing the shepherd's purse will bring back the traumatic thing, but that doesn't make the shepherd's purse any less beautiful. (Notice how he dismisses the word "weed.")
I love the way poetry has room for both: the beauty and the pain.
You should definitely click through and read the whole thing. It's short. Here's the link again.