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Real Thistles

On Les Murray having remarked that he couldn't find any thistles in Scotland.

You'd have found your thistles
on motorway shoulders, in the cracks
beside barns, in small time gardens
and other town yards, and you'd have
known them from our yarns,
stamped in gold on book spines.

Cracked into crystal whisky-
tumblers they sooth the inebriated
ditches, or still adorn allotments'
protesting potato trenches,
or crouch rough beside rivers.
They are banished from farms.

Fact: they are a notifiable
invasive weed; if your neighbour
lets thistle seed, you can cop him.
He must poison them or dig them up.
But they flower unstoppably in our minds,
defiant beauty in unkempt lands.

By Sally Evans
From The Lie of the Land, stories and poems from Perth and Kinross