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This poem is taken from PN Review 118, Volume 24 Number 2, November - December 1997.

Three Poems from 'Life and Art' Michael Hamburger

Life and Art XI
(Galium aparine)
For Rosalind

'Sweethearts' you tell me the plant is called
In your myth-making West.
Here, in harder light, it's as 'common cleavers'
That I fight the annual invasion
Deadly to meadowsweet, purple loosestrife,
Marsh orchid, marsh marigold
When in sticky clusters or single tendril so dainty
That they, he, she, it can't be grasped
More surely they murder by clinging
Than bindweed by constriction, ground elder by smothering bulk;
So prolific, too, the sweethearts,
That they compete with grass,
From top to toe invisibly barbed, like the seed
Made for cleaving when ripe and by cleaving transported.
...


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