November 19, 2015

Poetry Friday--"Thinking of Thanksgiving"

When Matt Forrest issued a second "Poetry...Cubed!" challenge I seriously considered writing a poem with all three of the photographed items included. However, the poem took over after I started with bittersweet and it wouldn't allow me to add in a woodstove and a New England Patriot.

The whole thing morphed into a pre-Thanksgiving harangue! Funny how that happens.

Click on the image to enlarge. © Diane Mayr, all rights reserved.

This postcard, though not given a date, was identified as being from the Whitney Valentine Company of Worcester, MA. It is probably from the early 1900s and seems to indicate that bittersweet was already a well-known symbol at the time of its printing. [For those interested in postcards, here's a post I found on Mr. Whitney.]

Postcard courtesy NY Public Library Digital Collections.

Few people realize that the variety that is seen almost everywhere here in the northeast, is Oriental bittersweet and is extremely invasive. People clip stems of the berries to use in their homes and on their front doors and inadvertently assist in its spread. Here's a photo I took, which demonstrates the stranglehold the vines can have once they become established. The host tree, year by year, is squeezed to death.

The python of the botanic world!

There is also the problem of American bittersweet becoming hybridized by the Oriental bittersweet. Thus, it seems American bittersweet is losing the battle for survival.

Matt Forrest, you've forced me to write an American tale of horror!

This pre-Thanksgiving Poetry Friday the Round-Up will be held at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Have a great Thanksgiving Day!

22 comments:

  1. That's disturbing. I'll never look at Bittersweet the same way again.

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    1. That's hard to do since it's so pretty.

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  2. That metaphor made my heart hurt. Maybe "Bittersweet" is a better name than it deserves? How about "Blood Balls"? I mean, look at that poor tree trunk. Gad.

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    1. It makes you want to run screaming, "get it off me!"

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  3. Thanks for giving "Bittersweet" a whole new dimension...I'm letting the metaphor percolate; my immediate thoughts are not for public viewing. God bless you! Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Sorry for making the metaphor so obvious.

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  4. There are too many of these invasive species that have been introduced lately. So many of our beautiful trees are filled with leaves of vines that have taken over. Scary!

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    1. And most of the invasive species were introduced without malice, and, thought.

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  5. I have such fond memories of hunting for bittersweet in my childhood and didn't know about these awful changes, Diane. Your poem is both wonderful and frightening. Love the postcard. I have quite a few Christmas ones, but none from Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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    1. The bittersweet in your neck of the woods may be the native species. You live in Colorado, right? Oriental bittersweet isn't listed here.

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  6. Interesting post, Diane. I love that postcard (of course!) I don't think we have these vines in Maryland. I like the way the plant's name "bittersweet" works in your poems.

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  7. Wow, I had no idea! Python indeed. Thanks for the unique perspective in your poem. I'll never look at bittersweet the same way again.

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  8. Good writes. Have a happy weekend Diane

    Much love...

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  9. Sigh. Life was so much simpler as an ignorant clod. The picture of that tree is heart-wrenching!

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  10. Appreciations for this interesting topic, Diane.
    The postcard greeting from the past grabbed me. Nicely.
    Not like the invader. It good to read a poem where an alert is stated with strength.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. It seems there are quite a few vintage postcard fans out there. Glad to meet another!

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  11. Oh, you've opened our eyes as usual, Diane! Beautiful and horrifying. (Chuckling at Michelle's "ignorant clod" - so true!). And yay for those vintage postcards - I have a bunch, too. And I might have bittersweet artistic designs on them....

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    1. Have you ever been to a regional postcard sale? It is fantastically overwhelming!

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