Clever Stalk

by Richard Schiffman

Richard Schiffman

A botanical gardenist of sidewalks.
A weedologist with a doctorate in cracks and crannies.
A city boy shooting straight from the pavement,
the mean street itself, clenched by a thimbleful of dirt,
an ecosystem that fit his scrawny seed, from which arose
a life, not unconstrained, but free to rise, not far,
but far enough in buzzing air to stake
a fugacious and contested claim upon the earth itself,
the snub root sunk not wide, but deep beneath
the asphalt seal, where streams still run, or rather trickle.
Which will suffice-- he is not greedy. Merely scrappy.
A weed now gone to seed. Not to the garden born,
but to the crevice. Mostly content within his cubic inch
of real estate, yet not without expansionist intent,
swelling his seditious vegetable against the hard rock of the city,
unfurling like a green prayer, or a question mark
in a world of answers, or a poem in a world of prose,
cramming his vamped exuberance like a camel
through the eye of a needle, which Jesus thought unlikely,
but not inconceivable, at least for a miracle-worker like himself,
who made wine from water, and hope from hate, and fishermen saints,
and, who knows, maybe redwoods from weeds, which poets
also do, metaphorically speaking, shattering figurative sidewalks
with their strapping saplings-- of words, words, words.
You can get drunk on that kind of wine. Like the dandelion,
so intoxicated with its own insignificance in the greater scheme
of things that it forgets where it cannot grow,
and it grows there anyway.

Richard Schiffman's picture

I am a spiritual author and a former journalist who started writing poetry a few years back. I’m glad that I did! For me writing and reading poetry has become a meditation, a way to become reacquainted with my own deeper self. In these pages I’ll share with you some of my own recent work, as well as my reflections on “the poetry of the Spirit.” Most of all I’ll offer links to some favorite contemporary poems and poets, places where you can begin your own exploration into this rich and exciting world.

Last updated April 19, 2015