Poem: As Simple and Complicated

As Simple and Complicated

It lives in the South. Kudzu.
An angry, aggressive vine,
it can grow yards in a day.
Give it time and it will swallow
the very world it feeds on.

There is no cure. You cut it.
You burn it. Burn it to the ground
and it grows back. You can poison the soil,
but to what effect? Nothing lives
once you do that.

And so, you have two choices,
cut it back constantly,
or let it win. Let it smother all,
kill all, until you die,
a slow smothering,
the worst kind of death.

Not unlike your depression.
And so each day, you pull out your sheers,
and cut. And cut some more,
prolonging life and joy a bit longer.

Some days you make progress,
and you cut it back further than it can grow in a day.
Some days you are tired
and the vines with their broad green leaves,
beautiful and deadly, gain ground.

But every day you cut.
And sun shines on the fresh ground.
Flowers grow. You grow. As long as you work.
You cut it back. You bask in the sun
on the newly rescued grass.

As simple and complicated as that.

About this poem

Just part of my life. I’ve done my pruning for the day.

I was going to title “kudzu”, but I decided that was giving the nasty stuff too much power.

As I wrote this, the poem “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carol kept echoing in my head. It’s one of my favorites. But I had already used the line “Snicker snack” in another poem to indicate the cutting away of things.

This was going to be an essay. Somewhere in the writing, it changed my mind.




  1. Very beautiful. Haunting but reassuring. Honest about the road that follows but knowing full well that His grace is sufficient to carry us through


  2. Been doing some “snicker snack” here too- surprisingly how persistent our emotional kudzu can be- grateful that forgiveness and grace are even more resilient ! Be well my friend.

  3. This gives me courage, and also fortifies me in my flower gardening, constantly confronting a bully of a vine here called the “shrub killer.” Thank you very much for a wonderful start to Monday. – Ellyn in Baton Rouge

    • I think everywhere except here in New England, has something like Kudzu. It’s just too cold for killer view here, I think! I miss the South sometimes, but not Kudzu or Virginia Creeper ]

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