Reading Witchgrass by Louise Glück

This morning I was meditating upon Witchgrass by Louise Glück. 

It is really a song of rightful complaint ... the grass complains that it has gotten a bad name, "witchgrass," because it is wrongfully accused of the death of dainty flower plants that humans grow. The truth remains, says witchgrass, that those flowers were always meant to die and that she is just getting the blame.  She claims that she was there before the humans and will likely be there when humans are gone.  Despite all the false accusations, she declares that she will win in the end and "I will constitute the field."  Memorable words from Louise Gluck. 

Themes and reminders 
  • Wild and crazy - Kabir's Baura; Nanak's Diwana
  • Longevity and Infinity
  • It might be losing the battle, but it will win the war and constitute the field - Guru Gobind Singh's Deh Shiva, Guru Nanak Man Jeetai Jagjit 

What is Witchgrass
Witchgass is a North American grass. The tufted grass is an annual plant that has hairy stems and large seed heads. It is the seed heads which give witchgrass weeds their name. When ripe, the seeds burst out and quickly scatter for long distances in the wind.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Witchgrass Weed Control – How To Get Rid Of Witchgrass

Louise Glück

comes into the world unwelcome
calling disorder, disorder—

If you hate me so much
don’t bother to give me
a name: do you need
one more slur
in your language, another
way to blame
one tribe for everything—

as we both know,
if you worship
one god, you only need
One enemy—

I’m not the enemy.
Only a ruse to ignore
what you see happening
right here in this bed,
a little paradigm
of failure. One of your precious flowers
dies here almost every day
and you can’t rest until
you attack the cause, meaning
whatever is left, whatever
happens to be sturdier
than your personal passion—

It was not meant
to last forever in the real world.
But why admit that, when you can go on
doing what you always do,
mourning and laying blame,
always the two together.

I don’t need your praise
to survive. I was here first,
before you were here, before
you ever planted a garden.
And I’ll be here when only the sun and moon
are left, and the sea, and the wide field.

I will constitute the field.

Other poems by Louise Gluck: