You won't find them in places where society goes,
Like flower shows.
Run more to junk yards and other low-rent sections--
Not flowers to make perfume of or wear.
People see them in their lawns and swear.
Cows eat them and their milk tastes funny.
Bees make them into honey.
The farmer turns them under with his plow,
Or makes them into wine if he knows how.
They hang around street corners on pipestem legs,
And taste good in salad with vinegar and hard-boiled eggs.
In broken bricks and cinders they
Do well. Also in clay.
Hills they prefer to valleys.
They like to grow
Where kids go,
In vacant lots and alleys.
Little girls use them for various things,
Such as money. They put them on strings,
Or hold them under their chins to see if they like butter.
Golfers knock their heads off with a putter.
You can split them with your tongue to make long curls,
Which small comedians wear to look like girls.
They hug the earth where lawnmowers mow,
And so survive.
Elsewhere they stretch taller.
In areas where nothing else will grow
More like the sun than sunflowers,
They can't be stopped although you hoe and spray them;
The best that you can hope is to delay them.
No skirmish ever proves to be the last;
No victory quite manages to stay won.
They seem to propagate about as fast
As a middle-aged gardener can run.
There isn't any more that you can say
About these tawny, undesired plants
(Teeth of the lion is what they're called in France)
Except that certain things are here to stay,
Things that don't pertain to public good,
Such as firecrackers, unplanned parenthood,
Snowballs, or a bedtime story--
Things you'd never dream
Of including in a modern social scheme.
Dandelions fall in this category.
- Will D. Stanton