dVerse Poetics – Kudzu

Today Kim is prompting us at dVerse: http://dversepoets.com/2017/07/25/poetics-flexing-your-verbs/ “The challenge is to write a poem, of any length or form, not about an animal or bird, but about a landscape, using verbs in unexpected contexts. I don’t want to see any nouns or adjectives turned into verbs, but verbs doing their job, flexing their muscles, moving your poems across your chosen landscapes.” I am also posting this for the Open Poem Format at Real Toads hosted by Marian – http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/

kudzu roars down the mountain
like an avalanche – obliterating everything
in its path –
a tsunami of green that devours houses
trees fences boulders cars
in a snarl of leaves and vines.
it begins on a night when the moon
is asleep –
a tiny tendril silently explodes
out of the rocky soil
and by the next sundown
it has marched steadily forward –
it covers consumes chomps away
and before you know it
the Japanese green dragon has
gorged itself and eaten well –
the mountain has disappeared
under a tattered veil of jade.

public domain photo

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kim881
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 17:27:10

    I had to look up kudzu, which I now know is Japanese arrowroot; it apparently has beautiful delicate purple flowers while the seedpods are green and fuzzy, which is reflected in your
    ‘tsunami of green that devours houses
    trees fences boulders cars
    in a snarl of leaves and vines’.
    Fabulous verb flexing there, Toni, and in the lines:
    ‘a tiny tendril silently explodes
    out of the rocky soil
    and by the next sundown
    it has marched steadily forward’.
    That little plant sounds unstoppable. My favourite lines:
    ‘the Japanese green dragon has
    gorged itself and eaten well –
    the mountain has disappeared
    under a tattered veil of jade’.


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 25, 2017 @ 17:31:27

      Some Southerners make a sweet jelly from the blooms – I find the smell of the blooms rather cloying and personally, I can’t see tasting the blooms. It truly is unstoppable. It will cover an entire mountain in a week. I only dies under intense frost making the rocks and such visible under the de-leaved vines, but grey and ghostly. I’ve written several poems about kudzu – A”the vine that ate the south”. I can’t remember who named it that.


  2. alisonhankinson
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 17:46:29

    I am glad Kim looked it up..because now I see it in all its glory. We have something similar it seems to tangle and strangle everything, I don’t know its name, Kim will know. I call it chickweed, then at least I know what I mean. lovely poem.


  3. ghostmmnc
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 18:03:05

    I’ve never seen kudzu, but your poem just brings it to life. Maybe that’s not a good thing? Seems like people don’t like it very much. I wonder if I could get it to grow here. I never seem to be able to grow anything, so maybe that would work! I do like your line of ‘…kudzu roars down the mountain…’ 🙂


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 25, 2017 @ 18:08:25

      I don’t doubt you could get it to grow. Unfortunately is is beyond invasive. It has eaten 10s of thousnds of acres in the south. Pull up the images of kudzu…you’ll see.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  4. Waltermarks
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 19:02:19

    I like your form, depicting the kudzu as a ferocious monster, devouring everything in it’s path, (it sure did in Florida). It sounded like an old Godzilla movie in progress


  5. Victoria C. Slotto
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 19:04:00

    At first I thought it was a landslide but reading the comments has been an education in itself. I do remember hearing about this but don’t recall seeing it when I lived in Richmond. You wrote this so powerfully, Toni. Very enjoyable.


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 25, 2017 @ 21:10:41

      There is some in various parts of the Richmond area but it is starting to get kind of north-y for kudzu. The stuff grows about 3 feet a day. Dickey wrote that poem with the line, when the kudzu takes your fields, you will sleep like the dead…or something to that effect. I’ve always wished I had written that.

      Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab®|PRO


  6. Frank Hubeny
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 19:41:15

    I’ve heard about kudzu, but I don’t know much about it. That it is called a Japanese green dragon is interesting. It looks like it grabs all the available sunlight for itself.


    • kanzensakura
      Jul 25, 2017 @ 19:47:20

      I called it a Japanese green dragon. I had down green snake and then….bam! Kudzu was brought to the US in the 1880’s to feed cattle from Japan. I have a thing about Japanese dragons. So I made up a green one and equated it with the kudzu. It is a horribly invasive plant which you will see if you do an images search of it. And it moves about 3 feet a day.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  7. thotpurge
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 21:22:40

    Learnt something new today.. also like that you called it a green dragon!!


  8. rosross
    Jul 25, 2017 @ 23:14:49

    Yes, when the conditions are right, nature is abundant.


  9. Sumana Roy
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 00:55:55

    Thoroughly enjoyed the nightly dance of the Japanese green dragon. Such élan vital!! This life force is also evident in your wonderful choice of words, Toni.


  10. sarahsouthwest
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 05:26:15

    There’s something about fast growing plants that is really terrifying, and this truly sounds like a monster. I love the way you trace it from innocent beginnings to sated dragon.


  11. Brendan
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 05:31:40

    I’m constantly cutting back kudzu vines where they leap into ravenous being. Your poem so perfectly captures the astonishing rapacious speed of a colony of kudzu — truly a green dragon from a leaf. I’ve seen swaths of landscape here in Florida, including abandoned buildings, so covered. Maybe the dragon hungers for the entire South.


  12. Marian
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 06:10:51

    Yeah… kudzu really is like an avalanche or a wave, devouring. Well done.


  13. Sanaa Rizvi
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 07:44:54

    Wow!❤️ Your absolutely gorgeous descriptions bring the kudzu to life! I can truly picture them 😀 Beautifully penned.❤️


  14. Laura Bloomsbury
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 11:04:36

    Kudzu certainly flexes its muscle in verbs here


  15. Nan Mykel
    Jul 26, 2017 @ 23:40:04

    “Chomps away” is apt. Sldo under a tattered veil of jade.


  16. lillian
    Jul 27, 2017 @ 11:44:09

    Oh….I just let out a verbal sigh at your last two lines. This is truly wonderful and the last two lines most especially! 🙂


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