Dandelion and Burdock
All across the world and down through time,
Blood, soaking into earth, births flowers.
This is a pattern scored deep on our skin.
First blood, then flowers.
Some sequence in our DNA remembers
And repeatedly embodies that equation.
The ancients sensed it too:
All those bleating lambs and doves in Sinai,
All those Aztec children sung beyond the sky,
And now it’s kids in masks throwing stones at tanks,
Bold boys on hunger strike, scared girls twirling
To admire themselves in locked and loaded vests.
Our own or others’ lives are always being offered,
Surrendered on the altar of the future,
Hearts held beating up to heaven, chalices up-ended,
Pouring breath away to bring again the sun, the rain, the corn.
Someone always dies so life’s renewed and hope’s reborn.
One way of looking at it I suppose.
These were my half-formed thoughts as we all waited
That Good Friday underneath the yellow lights,
Quiet around the candles and the carpet
Of pale daffodils and tulips suddenly there.
The silent scream of parallels, the clunky
Symbolism wrapped round railings, echoed
Through my skull. Words whimpered and slunk off.
A hundred yards away a wee white tent
Was pitched right in the middle of the road,
Covering the black-in-moonlight stain
Where you fell and will fall forever now.
And on Sunday long-dead crosses once again
Will burst in bloom; the ancient rumour whispered
One more time, the cat let out the bag.
When you smiled and wished us Happy Easter
Truth arose and drove two hundred miles to
Stamp its foot and furiously shriek that Hell
Cares nothing for the gentle tales you tell.
And yet, this rainbow pavement-meadow grew in hours.
Though these of course, are not your only flowers.
Your blooms the children taken by surprise
At seeing pals and strangers through new eyes,
Who float off back to families and flats and Friday nights,
Like teenage spores, in darkness sowing galaxies of lights.
On fields, once frozen, glowing green and soon ablaze with Spring,
Clouds of Dandelion and Burdock seeds drift down, on ghost-grey wings.
Copyright © John McIntosh 2016
I’m a 56 year old teacher from Glasgow who is sporadically moved to write poems. Have had a few things published on this website and in the Glad Rag, a Glasgow southside Arts magazine, and hope to do more and more of this as retirement appears on the horizon.