One Poem by Daniel Bouchard

​Benjamin Naca. Oswaldo no. 4

Benjamin Naca. Oswaldo no. 4, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

Poem Ending with Clotbur

Alive in liverwort, a life’s worth 
  among lambsquarters 
and burcucumbers    purple 
  dead nettle, the absurd
birdseye pearlwort 
  heard by pursley 
breathing in tumble mustard   
  in devil’s grip   gypsy 
combs, ordinary corn cockle 
  and henbit of Aaron Burr

Bought purslane   wild 
  portulaca   which is best 
of worts?    in wire grass 
  or path rush two penny 
grass, wirestem muhly  
  one day this trillium glare
broken-glass green sparkle
  bloodwort type

Dallisgrass overrun the knoll
  fall panicum picnic danger 
leafy spurge, flannel leaf spurts 
  healall, tall ambrosia 
heal thy bee nettle    mown goat’s beard 
  sold for shepherd’s purse
sister to awl aster, knawel
  with white heath aster 
and didn’t know her well

Radiant catch-eye iris 
  aster culture and bluet cult  
forget-me-not triumph to
  violets and common vetch
dry bloodroot and loosestrife
  and yellow rocket rise from 
cellar to rooftop

Whose taproot is fibrous 
  whose petioles are green 
in days eye, a daisy 
  sedulous wall brome, abide 
thy prickly sida 
  cutleaf evening primrose 
just a guess, in tall grasses 
  coarse or velvet fescue 
born slender chess   the rest 
  left off tip of tongue grass

Whistle to tune of sow thistle
  from bottom gutweed 
across the wide dindle 
  bindweed grandstand 
cocklebutton sew on 
  dodder    dandelion 
ant and lion, rabbitfoot clover 
  wild morningglory 
any other wouldn’t do

Love the chickweed, the wild teasel 
  toadflax genre and waterleaf school
greasy colors and saturate laxness 
  that’s my little starwort 
by the hop o’my thumb 
  jenny and charlie creeper
wild oat grass sown 
  and the cat’s in the clover 
and the crowfoot grass
  speak horsetail mouthful

Roughstalk mosses    
  blue herbaceous losses 
birds foot trefoil    quick step 
  three-seeded mercury 
penny mountain    poor man’s 
  weather glass shattered 
how fattened winterweed, oldfield 
  cinquefoil   dance black medic 
fat hen abut yellow nutsedge 
  and trim narrowleaf vetch   

Cut and then begin over 
  white clover, black cover 
devil’s claw   flax bloom fell    
  slender rush, cheat blue meadow 
paying stork’s bill   listen 
  reed canary grass unread 
grip grass, grass beard, whiskey 
  devil’s grass and sedge 
  quitch, quick and quack grass 
for lack of definite edge

Broomcorn millet, halloween meadow 
  witch grass, fool hay
scary swamp persicary 
  witches hair   pepper wort    
candlewick   beware 
  woolly mullein or corn
mouse ear chickweed
  clasping bellwort 
dogfennel   ken   fellen wort and worse

Drooping brome   dropseed
  in pin grass    carpet 
weed, all a longspine sandbur 
  nimblewill shattercane 
hairy far nodding thistle 
  muck thistle fellow
everybody is a star thistle 
Overturn felon herb
  mad apple oxeye daisy
this is horse, this marestail 
  this muck thistle 
blue sailors coffee weed    
  succory bunk   fast asleep
spotted knapweed, chickory

This is still Canada
  this is still green 
this still spear and bull
  and this is thistle 
crabgrass and cocklebur 
  cocksfoot and scotch 
dogstooth mindful first 
  then bur black swallow nice 
wort if you can get it

Caterpillar grass whose bull briar 
  cockspur, bear and hedgehog mow
virgins bower    goosegrass 
  cantilever and Kant
wild mustard   woodbine must   
  gowan    kedlock   Plato
going to walk Gowanus canal 
  go on groundsel, grimsel 
this ragwort in tatters

Prickly lettuce wild 
  carrot speedwell slender 
and corn roundleaf 
  ground husk tomato 
greenbriar  play peppercress
  wild snapdragon thorn apple
build me up bulbous buttercup  
  trumpet creeper    Chester Creek
nap as catchweed bedstraw

Kochia caught white campion
  a bit of catsfoot in the pack
this rabbit tobacco 
  faitour grass maker
the real red belvedere 
  better redroot pigweed
tumble broadleaf plantain  
  buckhorn and birdvetch
sparrow and hairy    redstem filaree 
  bladder ketmia

That’s the whole whorled chickweed 
  creeping thyme quiet 
as a pin weed    star flower
  flies the pokeweed scoke    
garget coakum broomsedge 
  bluestem, burdock sorghum
sure, sure got them

Mayweed chamomile 
  wild millet, may we
come golden foxtail 
  a mile of common yarrow    
scarlet pimpernel   bitter 
  cress, bloodwort type  
prostrate knotweed sleep
 curly sour dock
under red sorrel press 
  working lot of clotbur

Daniel Bouchard’s poetry collections include Art & Nature (forthcoming with Ugly Duckling Presse in November 2014), The Filaments (Zasterle Press, 2006), Some Mountains Removed (Subpress, 2005). Recent essays have appeared in The Capilano Review (on George Stanley’s Vancouver) and Jacket2 (on Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s Drafts) and Let the Bucket Down (on the poetry of Fanny Howe). He edited the print-only poetry journal The Poker from 2003–2009.

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