Saturday, November 07, 2009
Tell me, if you know,
the name of this sprawling woodland plant
with small paddle-shaped leaves,
November-red, and bright red berries.
Thorns seemingly too thin
and soft to be of much use
deterring browsers. What deer
would hesitate to nibble here?
And yet, this lovely plant --
whose name I do not know --
bristles menacingly, pretending
a keenly-whetted defense.
How often has natural selection
gone down this path, nature-red-
in-tooth-and-claw adopting spikes,
spines, prickles, thorns.
Thorny devil lizard.
Spiky sea urchin.
Spiny king crab.
You and I with our
soft and silky skin
facilitating love, caresses,
the apparently un-Darwinian invitations
to intimacy. Left vulnerable by
nature's oversight we provide
our own swords, daggers, lances, spears.