One Plant’s Meat is Another Man’s Garden

more common than you'd think
Hemlock, as shown in Medizinal-Pflanzen (Medicinal Plants) by Franz Köhler

One Plant’s Meat is Another Man’s Garden

Hemlock won’t kill us,
Despite all its poison,
(And not for the warnings that textbooks all parrot.)
For why would we eat it, right there in the hedgerow ?
It doesn’t look that much like parsley or carrot.

Since when do we sample the leaves and the berries
Of any old weed in the wild ?  How bizarre !
We buy all our veg from the market and grocer,
Who hopefully know what the diff’rences are.

And meanwhile we cherish the monkshood and foxglove,
And nurture their weapons without any fuss.
But hey, there’s no danger admiring their flowers,
For light cannot carry their toxins to us.

Buttercups, daffodils, rosemary, poppies,
And holly and ivy, and conkers and yew.
We’re much more at risk from a field of grain –
From the carbs that we bake, or the booze that we brew.

Animals know well to leave them alone,
Whether ragwort to nightshade – just ask any herder.
And humans will likewise spit bitterness out –
So we won’t die of hemlock…unless it is murder !

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