One Wish

Elder weed sends up 
starry-white flowers, 
mini-Queen Anne’s lace. 
Its rhizome roots 
crowd out hapless 
coral bells and astilbe 
under our pear tree.
Pollinators hum, 
and my eyes are 
sun-blind, and itchy. 
Even exhausted from digging, 
a field of lupine spires 
is enough 
to still my breath and free 
unspoken wishes 
like seeds wind-sown — 
let this spring never end. 
But it will. Relentlessly 
the years turn and spin away 
from me. But one wish remains. 
One seed roots in my heart. 
Let my children grow 
like elder weed, with 
strong roots, binding one 
to the other, and flowering, 
no matter the weather. 

Copyright 2022 Brenda Davis Harsham

Notes: This morning, I wrestled with a large patch of elder weed (aka bishop’s weed or gout weed). We had over 60 flowers, soon to shed tens of thousands of seeds all over the neighborhood, but my husband I vanquished them. (For the moment — it’s probably already regrowing, even as I type.) A digging fork (aka pitch fork) was the best tool — it gets under the roots and levers up plate-sized patches — thanks to the internet for that revelation. Now, I’m half-dead, covered in grime and listening to bees hum, birdsong rising, and chipmunks chirping. Elder weed regrows from even one tiny missed root. It will return, year after year, long after I’ve hung up my gardening gloves for the last time. Patches of elder weed are still found outside ruined monasteries where monks in the middle ages cultivated it for its spring greens and to use in arthritis and gout poultices. It’s comforting to know that my garden will long outlast me, especially the weeds. My second son graduated from HS this week. In this one quiet moment, life is good. Magic, even. May that magic find you, too.

11 thoughts on “One Wish

  1. “But one wish remains.
    One seed roots in my heart.
    Let my children grow
    like elder weed, with
    strong roots, binding one
    to the other, and flowering,
    no matter the weather. ”
    Yes, I can hear the resonant sound in my heart with your words! A great piece!


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