Theodore Roethke

Weed Puller

Under the concrete benches,
Hacking at black hairy roots, -
Those lewd monkey-tails hanging from drainholes, -
Digging into the soft rubble underneath,
Webs and weeds,
Grubs and snails and sharp sticks,
Or yanking tough fern-shapes,
Coiled green and thick, like dripping smilax,
Tugging all day at perverse life:
The indignity of it! -
With everything blooming above me,
Lilies, pale-pink cyclamen, roses,
Whole fields lovely and inviolate, -
Me down in that fetor of weeds,
Crawling on all fours,
Alive, in a slippery grave.

spoken = David Juda