Learning to Weed

”Water is taught by thirst” ~ Emily Dickinson

Sun stands tall and beats my bent back into droplets of water. I pull with fury roots of a stinging nettle infesting the garden.

It seems a futile effort to keep fighting this pest that robs me of joy; walking outdoors barefoot with skirts blown high by gentle breeze, arms outstretched, and laughter competing with songs of summer. I pause.

Rowing boat at the lake

i sit next to water
and think of how delicious
is the taste of freedom

Young and tender no more, leaves of the plant envelope everything it touches and litter seeds to spread the rash. I persevere.

i ponder
the hullabaloo
the trumming sound

Larvae feeding on stinging netle

Weed keeps flourishing and rubbing people I love the wrong way. I persist, plucking root by root. Sun continues to smirk.

i thirst water from home
a verse to confirm
freedom still tastes as good
for bogus rumours
spread across the ocean

Sun stands tall and beats everything into shape. Birds and mosquitoes alike flee for shelter. I keep on weeding as I try to swallow words, I can’t spit, stuck in my dry throat.

i hear of deliverance
power of salty waters;
sweat and tears

Oh, the metamorphosis! Happy is the larva. Weed has its use. Caterpillar famished feeds, pupa nesting new life starts to dance, and beauty blooms. Fury flaps delicate like wings of a butterfly.

i taste freedom twice.

(not a direct result of the larvae feeding above)

process note: This piece was first inspired by a different piece I wrote for a poetry contest on healthy self-love and self-care.

It was also inspired by the current Finnish summer record temperatures. They say it’s never been this hot since 1976. Luckily, we didn’t go hiking this summer as we normally do. But rather planned a quite time in the countryside.

So, I’ve been courting water (lots of swimming to keep cool) and Emily Dickinson as I weed my garden for butterflies to bloom. And it turns out, water represents cleansing, life and freedom.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and creative professional. Her blog focuses on all things poetry and creative nonfiction.


  1. I am mesmerized…..I keep reading it over and over again to get the full impact!

  2. “Happy is the larva. ” What a perfect line, especially in the context of self-love. To me, it says that the fight that is nearly breaking us isn’t for nothing, our wings will come…

  3. Exactly, the fight isn’t for nothing. We learn what we need to learn, and more especially about decluttering our lives.

  4. Beautiful, Khaya. I love the flow of your writing and the soothing reflections of the way nature unfolds. Flowers versus weeds is all a matter or perspective, isn’t it? They all serve a purpose. That said, I too battle the stinging nettles that grow like… weeds! This spring I started picking bag fulls of the leaves. I dried them for delicious tea (for the winter) and made quiches and cassaroles with them. Now I don’t look at them as quite so annoying. Lol.

  5. You are an amazing writer Khaya! I know I’ve said that before, but I have to repeat myself! I just love the way you describe everything! Please keep as cool as you can! It seems that everyone is getting this bad heat this year! Big Hugs 🙂

  6. Thank you, Diana. You are correct, it’s a matter of perspective. Everything has its purpose, even if to teach us something about ourselves. Like you I do put stinging nettle into use by adding to casseroles, and making liqueur and snaps. 🙂

  7. Beautiful illustration of the circle of life and also how we’re all connected in some way. I’m glad to hear you entered the contest, and I’m (secretly) rooting for you <3

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