As the days warm and lengthen, the grass
is getting happy almost overnight.
Under my window the first star of spring
opens its eye on the front lawn. Yellow
as butter, it is only one. But it is one,
and in the nature of things, and like
the multiple asterisks seeding the night sky,
it will flourish and take over every
grassy bank in town. I long to be prolific
as the dandelion, spinning pale parachutes
of words, claiming new territory by
the power of fluff. The stars in their courses
have bloomed an unending glory
across the heavens, but here in my yard
a local constellation prepares to launch
multiple, short-lived, radiant coronas
to proclaim the new-sprung season.
~Luci Shaw “Dandelion”
How I loved those spiky suns,
rooted stubborn as childhood
in the grass, tough as the farmer’s
big-headed children—the mats
of yellow hair, the bowl-cut fringe.
How sturdy they were and how
slowly they turned themselves
into galaxies, domes of ghost stars
barely visible by day, pale
cerebrums clinging to life
on tough green stems.
Like you, in the end.
If you were here,
I’d pluck this trembling globe to show
how beautiful a thing can be
a breath will tear away.
~Jean Nordhaus “A Dandelion for My Mother”
We harbor a dandelion sanctuary,
a safe haven from herbicides and trowels.
The lawn is filled with them now
yellow spots in carpeted green
which close tight at night,
then open each morning
as miniature reflections
of the real dawn.
As a kid, I was paid a nickel
to dig up each long dandelion root,
restoring the blemished green yard
to pristine perfection;
no more yellow splotches,
trembling transparent globes
releasing scores of
But it didn’t last.
The perfect lawn,
like the perfect life
is a myth.
A host of opportunistic seeds
float innocently on the breeze
or lie hidden deep in our soil
ready to spring up again overnight.
Those spunky spiky suns
and ghostly stars of fluff
overwhelm my heart with joy:
they take my breath away
as my breath, in turn,
blows them away.