I wrote the poem in the mid-90s and have revised it occasionally since then.
Conquest in Yellow
(Dandelions, not indigenous to North America, arrived sometime after European contact.)
The dandelions dare, taunting,
waving little bastard flags
that thrust above the lawn.
They spring, resurrected,
from beneath my mower’s blades,
and carpet my earth in yellow laughter.
What single parent spawned this rousing rabble?
How did the first one come?
Did some subtle seed stow away
among damp hemp in dark ship’s hold,
holding off that business of beginning
until it found new shores?
Or was it sabotage? Some canny slave
who slipped the seed among his rags
until it could be planted
between the careful crops?
I like my story better.
It surely was a girl-wife, trying to be brave,
a Maggie or a Jane perhaps, who,
just before she boarded,
bound for brave new world,
picked one last flower
and pressed it in her apron pocket.
The children of that flower, yellow-bright
would ease the strangeness of new door-step.
I know she coaxed it carefully,
rejoiced when it bore seed,
and when, in joy, she plucked the hardy stem
to blow, and blow,
the dandelion billowed and made
swirling clouds of seed that tumbled
through her hair and pierced the ground
beneath her feet.
They mostly stayed close to home,
but the wind caught three
and carried them two townships over, down beside a stream
where they grew
until their seeds were caught by the wind, too.