Saturday, June 6, 2015

The contradictory nature of government

We have some Dame's Rocket blooming in the yard right now. Some in the woods in front of the house, a little in the woodsy patch behind the living room.. The blossoms are deep purple. Elsewhere it blooms in white and shades of pink. It's pretty and aromatic in the evening. I've read that it's an invasive and should be eradicated. I've also read that the seeds are found in "wild flower" packets and note that plants can be purchased, as a "special order," from at least one Minnesota nursery.

Dame's Rocket (Hesperis matronalis)
Photo by J. Harrington

No doubt I'm being excessively logical about this but I wonder, if the plant is truly to be classified as an invasive, why the hell is it for sale in Minnesota, either as a special order or, in seed form, mixed with other "wildflowers?" Wouldn't that be like a bait shop selling zebra mussels? It makes about as much sense to me as many of the outcomes of the Minnesota Legislature's 2015 session. (See David Schultz's blog for a great assessment of that disaster.)

Why would I, or anyone, expend time and energy and resources trying to eradicate a plant that other Minnesotans are making a profit selling? I realize that I'm raising these concerns in the same country that, for years, had one agency of the federal government trying to get us all to quit smoking while another agency of that same government was subsidizing tobacco farmers. One where the current president simultaneously warns of the dangers of climate change and promotes an all of the above energy policy, including drilling for oil in the Arctic. What could possibly go wrong?

It's probably just as well that I consider myself a poet, as Walt Whitman was, although the comparison ends there. He came as close as may be possible to making any sense of any of this when he wrote:
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
That's it for today, I have to go feed my sourdough starter and repeat the serenity prayer several times.

Try to Praise the Mutilated World

By Adam Zagajewski 

Translated By Clare Cavanagh 
Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine.
The nettles that methodically overgrow
the abandoned homesteads of exiles.
You must praise the mutilated world.
You watched the stylish yachts and ships;
one of them had a long trip ahead of it,
while salty oblivion awaited others.
You've seen the refugees going nowhere,
you've heard the executioners sing joyfully.
You should praise the mutilated world.
Remember the moments when we were together
in a white room and the curtain fluttered.
Return in thought to the concert where music flared.
You gathered acorns in the park in autumn
and leaves eddied over the earth's scars.
Praise the mutilated world
and the gray feather a thrush lost,
and the gentle light that strays and vanishes
and returns.


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