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The Dandelion

Suburbia frowns upon her sunlit face:
“Out, out thou upstart weed!” Poor Dandelion
—like sisters Cinderella, Queen Anne’s lace—
a beauty cast aside; no bed to lie in.

Medicinal, nutritious: a balm on scrapes and sores,
on insect bites; the grape of dandy wines.
Yet scorned, like salesmen door-to-door and whores,
where lawns like poodles have highborn blood lines.

Poor poets, children pick Dame Dandelion,
give her, a gift, in grand springtime bouquets
—gathered from yards the likes of lofty Zion—
give her a royal place with fulsome praise.

Oh callous world, stay your trowels of doom.
In your heart make room, let dandelions bloom.

.

.

Leland James is the author of five poetry collections, four children’s books in verse, and a book on creative writing and poetry craft. He has published over three hundred poems worldwide including The Lyric, Rattle, London Magazine, The South Carolina Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New Millennium Writings, The American Poetry Review, The Haiku Quarterly, The American Cowboy, and The Ekphrastic Review. He was the winner of the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award and has won or received honors in many other competitions, both in the USA and Europe. Leland has been featured in American Life in Poetry and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
www.lelandjamespoet.com & https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/leland-james


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13 Responses

  1. Roy Eugene Peterson

    I wrote a poem about dandelions and their historical medicinal value as well. I can confirm the uses of dandelions in your well-written poem and have thought about my entire backyard being dandelions, but my reservations are my neighbors would go berserk for all the seeds blowing onto their lawns. I really enjoyed your presentation.

    Reply
  2. Paul Buchheit

    Very nice, Leland. Ah, the childhood memories of blowing the seeds off a dandelion!

    Reply
  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    Dandelion leaves (from “dent de lyon” in Old French) are good in salad, as long as they are picked when young. The long older leaves are bitter.

    Reply
  4. Cheryl Corey

    I personally love the dandelion. They’re like perfect little suns and I love the scent. This reminds me that I should get some dandelion tea for a spring tonic.

    Reply
  5. Norma Pain

    I like your poem Leyland and it is all so true, but dandelions spoil my view. They… along with clumps of clover, will ultimately both take over! But never will I use Roundup, even on creeping buttercup, which are actually very pretty. Thank you for this poem Leyland.

    Reply
  6. Sally Cook

    I love the Dent de Lyon , the Queen Anne’s Lace,
    The Golden Rod, Wild Aster every place –
    Less pompous than the gladioli blooms
    And royal roses, drooping in shady rooms.

    Your poem says so much. Thank you !

    Reply
    • Leland James

      Thanks. And I think your last sentence says much. Poety need not have grand stages or profound stances to say something down the layers. How many things, by cultural noises, are we sublimely persuaded, to view negatively–when given a fresh look are quite, in their way, beautiful. –Leland James

      Reply
  7. Jeff Eardley

    Leland, I love, “lawns like poodles have highborn blood lines” (mine certainly hasn’t) and the “trowels of doom” will now have to stay at the back of the potting shed. A most enjoyable piece today on that most underrated flower. Thank you

    Reply
  8. Kate Farrell

    Your poem in defense of the Lordly Dandelion is needed!
    All the things you say about this beautiful harbinger of Spring
    are so true and deserve attention. Dandelions Forever!

    “Deep below they delve their roots
    healthful nutrients to win.
    Groundhogs, gophers dine and loot.
    Humans ingest at costly Inn.
    Questing for survival
    they outwit friend and rival.

    Reply
  9. C.B

    As always, Leland, you have set the mark. My own meager lawn is beset with the damn things, never mind that they are only part of an apomictic swarm. If you have never tasted dandelion wine, don’t go to the trouble, because it’s foul stuff.

    Reply
  10. Paul Freeman

    Every flower deserves its poem – even the dandelion.

    Thanks for the new perspective, Leland.

    Reply

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