Giant hogweed

Wiki Commons

Taller than grown men
silent reminder
of human folly

One look at you
one whiff of scent
declares intent

This land your domain
roots spread foundation
seeds spread your vanguard

To combat your growth
we must don armour
One touch might burn us

Arm ourselves for
axes will fell your
sturdy stems like trunks

Poisonous sap flow
burns skin in sunlight
blisters and blackens

Down but dangerous
still lying in wait
Second growth or seeds

Wait for guerrilla
warfare without end
Generations feud

We teach our children
to heed the danger
to combat your spread

Write history books
declaring lack of
knowledge led us here

Still we change Nature
before learning of
her intricate ways


Written for Kim’s prompt at dVerse ~ Poetics: Sylvia and Ted. Where we’re asked to write about growing, multiplying, invasive species. As well as try to emulate style of one of the poets.

I decided upon the challenge to keep my line short, with five syllables in each like Sylvia Plath’s Mushroom. It took some editing, but eventually I got there. But boy, do my inner saboteurs have a field day every time I decide to say I actually can do something that connects with writing. Just as they did when I decided to make a new translation of one of Edith Södergran’s poems.
Even though I actually have paid bills working as a freelance translator.

As yesterday’s Haibun challenge showed me how much harder I have with counting syllables in English than my native Swedish. This time I put most words trough a syllable counter I found online.

Wikipedia informed me that this weed too have at least one song to it’s honor.

8 thoughts on “Giant hogweed

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  1. This looks rather like our Queen Anne’s Lace, which is, however, not poisonous and much smaller. I think I should not like to meet a hogsweed!!

  2. You roll out that hogweed in fine color and gait — what fools we are, truly … I listened to that Genesis album all through the winter of 1974! Maybe a hogweed has been my spirit familiar since.

  3. Thank you for the poem and the musical memory – Genesis was one of my favourite bands and my first introduction to giant hogweed. You’ve definitely found your inner Plath with this one! I really felt fear of the nasty plant in the lines:
    ‘Poisonous sap flow
    burns skin in sunlight
    blisters and blackens’
    and the warning in the lines:
    ‘Still we change Nature
    before learning of
    her intricate ways’.
    Yes, Nature will come back at us with a vengeance!

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