Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tuesday poem #150 : Nelson Ball : A King Kong Of A Weed

            For William Hawkins, chronicler of King Kong

A King Kong of a weed has arrived in Bruce County
along the banks of Catfish Creek

looks like Queen Anne's lace
but taller, its common names

giant hogweed
giant cow parsley

native to the Caucasus and central Asia
spread in giant leaps into western Europe

imported as an ornamental
to northern United States

into southern Ontario, flourishing
along roadsides and streams

in bush and wasteland,
perennial, living several years

it forms a leafy canopy five feet tall
flowers once in its lifetime

the flower-bearing stems commonly ten feet tall
up to sixteen feet in Ontario Weeds

the juice of this plant brings
skin blisters and blindness

township workers encircle clusters
with rope, cautionary tape, and warning signs.

Nelson Ball’s most recent poetry book is Some Mornings (Mansfield Press, 2014). An online chapbook of his poems, A Rattle of Spring Frogs, appears on the website of Hamilton Arts & Letters. Chapbooks in 2015 include Small Waterways (Apt. 9 Press), All and Everything (Laurel Reed Books) and This Close to Being a Tree (Stone The Crows! Press). Nelson and his late wife and soulmate, artist and writer Barbara Caruso, are the subjects of Nelson Ball & Barbara Caruso / Home Project / A Photo Documentary, a video created by Catherine Stevenson. The video can be viewed on YouTube.

photo credit: Catherine Stevenson

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

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