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I Danced with the Dandelions
Stephen Anderson

Best told, it was a kind of jig that required
fast footwork to keep up with their continuous
dance and fast pop-ups, their unholy heartiness
that was no match for the lawn that had been
vociferously pleading for me to step in to avert
an impending disqualification in the race to gain
the trophy for the greenest lawn in town.
Let it be known that I, like some modern-day
Don Quixote, charged into that dance with
a dandelion extractor in my right hand and
hand-scoops of topsoil in my left in a fit of
extracting and patching as I went forward with
intermittent swivels to one side or the other as soon
as my peripheral vision caught sight of the
lineup of dandelion partners who silently
waited there like patient wallflowers with their
gleaming bright yellow faces in the late morning sun.
Little did I think before my dance with the dandelions
that they could wear me out, but 505 of them did by the time
that my lawn dance was completed. When I headed inside
for some cool water and a bite to eat, my mind was flooded
with thoughts of utility and its nemesis, futility— much as
poor old Quixote did his circular bidding with reality. In line with
eventual capitulation, I'm starting to think that the
yellowy loveliness of dandelions does really serve to
have an ornamental effect on my yard after all,
and, in the event that that I should change my mind,
a nice dandelion salad or dandelion wine might not
be unrealistic alternatives after all.
From Navigating in the Sun (forthcoming from Finishing Line Press).
Used here with the author’s permission.



Stephen Anderson is a Milwaukee, Wisconsin poet and translator whose award-winning work has appeared in numerous print and online journals and has been featured on the Milwaukee NPR affiliate, WUWM Lake Effect Program. Stephen is the author of three chapbooks and three full length collections, and several of his poems formed the text for a song cycle in The Privileged Secrets of the Arch, a chamber music composition performed by members of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and an opera singer. A fourth poetry collection, On the Third Planet from the Sun: New and Selected Poems, is forthcoming in the summer of 2024 (Kelsay Books). Stephen’s work is being archived in the Stephen Anderson Collection in the Raynor Libraries at Marquette University.



Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Clever and well-put!
Posted 07/12/2015 07:35 AM
Janet Leahy:
Now what would a small child hold in his fist and present to his teacher if not the "yellowy loveliness" of dandelions. Thanks Stephen, this was a fun one.
Posted 07/11/2015 04:36 PM
Lori Levy:
Liked this poem!
Posted 07/11/2015 12:32 PM
Amen! And now they're telling us that dandelions provide a source of pollen for bees before other flowers bloom.
Posted 07/11/2015 10:56 AM
I like dandelions. The daisies would e lonely without them.
Posted 07/11/2015 08:37 AM
What a beautiful use of language!
Posted 07/11/2015 08:33 AM
dandelions, bless their fuzzy little hearts, may belong in the category "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." and really, was there EVER such a yellow? love the poem!
Posted 07/11/2015 07:48 AM
Amen to that! I do my own dandelion dance and wonder why we've become so obsessed.beautiful writing.
Posted 07/11/2015 05:50 AM
Yes indeed! I am particularly drawn to the wine part----used to watch a woman go after dandelions with a paring knife. The lawn looked very pleased, the dandelions just kept coming.
Posted 07/11/2015 05:07 AM

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