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IN PRAISE OF HERB ROBERT

Not the Michelin two star French restaurant

in the Kentish High Weald, nor the West Coast

jazz saxophonist who sessioned with Brubeck,

but the British woodland wild flower, or weed.

 

There are two definitions of ‘weed’ –

the official: a wild plant growing

where it is not wanted; and mine: a plant

whose existence is not dependent,

in any way, on the whim of humankind.

 

Herb Robert – aka Red Robin –

is a wild and elegant geranium,

with dark green leaves, reddish stems and pink flowers,

that grows at the edge of paths, and in the gaps

between paving stones. In wiser times

it was an antiseptic, and a stomach

settler, a charm to baffle evil,

and bring forth birth – named, some say, for a monk

who made a curative tea from its leaves;

others for Robin Goodfellow or Puck,

the jokey house goblin of English folklore,

as featured in A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

‘And those things do best please me

That befall prepost’trously.’

© Copyright David Selzer
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5 Responses
  • Ian Craine
    July 31, 2021

    What an interesting selection of poems, with all sorts of allusions to a past we lived through. I have to confess I’ve never heard of Herb Robert, the jazzman. Paul Desmond is the only sax player I associate with Brubeck.

  • David Selzer
    July 31, 2021

    Thank you, Ian. I was being Puckish, so apologies are in order. I made up both the restuarant and the musician!

  • Ian Craine
    July 31, 2021

    But there again:-
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfzufIg4Q2Y

  • David Selzer
    August 1, 2021

    Oh dear! Two notes to self: avoid definitive statements, and avoid taking names in vain.

  • Alan Horne
    August 10, 2021

    Good! Herb Robert deserves more praise.

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