the thing with nettles is– if you grab them boldly, they don’t sting– right?

life’s not a soft approach, often
–either or//
black white//high low
no too big grey zone
(that’s what i would say)

“you’re too extreme”
my husband (a Libra) sighs, “relax” &
“try to balance more”

once they phished me out
of a nettles field,
blisters spreading in bizzare
hills and valleys
on my skin
(my cousin threw me in// i guess he had a reason–)

i thought i’d die

& didn’t

planned to punch him
fists to stomach, kicK-box
rope-tied to a tree
he was stronger though,
& we played on

so do you
test-phase /soft-touch/trial-finger things
instead to grab ’em boldly with both hands
like friendship// marriage//
art// work &– (you fill in the blanks)

or head-jump//risk-fall
scraTCHing cheeks & knees,
mud //blood// scars across the skin,
set everything on one big card
like Esther did in the old testament
(to save her people)

gramma made me tea,
placed me on the kitchen couch
& wind spilled through the window
over me

“gotta go” i say
she shakes her head
“dinner at 6”
“ok” i smile,

“&if i perish, i perish–“


…if i perish, i perish..that’s what Esther said… not only a beautiful but a brave woman as well…smiles…
Björn has us write fable inspired poetry at dVerse today… mine’s sparked by Aesop’s fable
“The Boy and the Nettles” //morale: Whatever you do, do with all your might


42 responses to “the thing with nettles is– if you grab them boldly, they don’t sting– right?

  1. its the risk we face…and with out risk there is often little reward….we have to grab boldly and run wild…and if we get scars we earn them….i like the ref to esther…yikes on falling into the nettles…ouch…
    happy saturday smiles

  2. Ha. The Libra will keep you on the straight and narrow 🙂
    You were lucky that your grandma didn’t send you off to look for burdock, which is supposed to stop the pain. But doesn’t of course.

  3. Life definitely does not take a soft approach. There are lots of times it gets out of balance, especially if a person lives bold. It is good to grab boldly with both hands, I believe. The best of life may be found that way, but also sometimes by living this way one ends up in the nettles…which can be painful. Hopefully, as we travel through life & end up with nettles, we will all find a sort of ‘grandma’ to make us tea and make everything better until the next time. And meanwhile, we will grow…and live on!

  4. I love that your grandma worries about dinner in the face of perishing. That’s kind of what makes the world go round. I am not sure about the grabbing theory with nettles–I’ve not tried it–when I see them try to get out–stream water helps and, I’ve heard, blackberry juice–I know my children used to feel that if you squeezed berries on the scratches, it lessened the sting. My sense is that it is better to put the berry in your mouth. Maybe that should be my fable. Thanks, Claudia. k.

  5. I’ve never found it easy to jump in head first…except for a cold pool…like ripping the bandaid off quickly (though I technically find that tough as well). I think it would be nice to face life like a cold pool…grabbing on with both hand and taking what comes with the same tenaciousness. hmmm…a lot to ponder…

  6. I’m a libra. That must be why I struggle with risk taking. But I hear you – no risk, no gain, even if we get bitten by nettles.
    I like how you weave the story and blend it with the fable as well as the bible story.
    Have a great weekend Claudia.

  7. Life does indeed provide for some painful lessons as we take up its challenges…all but it we didn’t…we’d be bored silly…another engaging poem.

  8. ‘so do you
    test-phase /soft-touch/trial-finger things
    instead to grab ‘em boldly with both hands’ ~ sometimes…but you know you can always ‘grab’ with words anyone who deserves…:)xx ~ love your
    refer. to Esther.

  9. Like the 90 year old groom, when asked about the risks of marrying his 20 year old nubile bride–“If she dies, she dies,” said he. I really like how you took the essence of a fable, and kept it safe within your own unique & wonderful poetic style; very classy response to the prompt.

  10. ouch – I remember a childhood misbegotten venture into a Texas field of fire-breathing nettles – the memory alone can raise blisters –
    I have found myself more cautious as I age – and longing for my more carefree youth 🙂 K

  11. I love the strength of Esther in her story. I have a nettles story that I would be too embar-ass-ed to post here. It happened when I was about 9. We were camping as a family in the wilderness. I will give no further details. :0)

  12. I like the boldness part: grab ‘em boldly with both hands
    like friendship// marriage//

    I am more cautious but do take calculated risks, even 360 degree turn, but I want some measure of success, smiles ~ Have a good weekend ~

  13. Life will never approach us lightly. It always has something extreme to offer and being bold is not mandatory because by nature we are bold. Weakness is in the mind but courage is in our heart and whatever happens in life at the end of the journey it is always the desires of heart that emerge bigger than anything else. Smiles. A lovely write, Claudia.

  14. Nice work on the fable assignment. I’m combining and saving mine for OMN…
    Yikes on the nettles…but the moral of the story I do believe in. If you’re going to do it, go for it, jump in the deep end, clothes on. Learn to swim! Life is too short to try things half-a$$ed…
    Tina @ Life is Good

  15. beautiful work as always, Claudia. love this stanza:
    “so do you
    test-phase /soft-touch/trial-finger things
    instead to grab ‘em boldly with both hands
    like friendship// marriage//
    art// work &– (you fill in the blanks)”

  16. I admire those who jump into life with both feet…nettles be damned. But…sigh…I’m more of the test the waters with one toe sort. Love the passion in this and gramma at the end wanting to tend to the stings…as you leap up to jump into some other life with both feet!

  17. I enjoy how you made the fable a story from your own life. what more proof than experience?! it is a great question: do you test-phase or grab boldly. I go softly for the most part, but now with a youngster who does is it “jump in” style, I am learning about that too.

  18. Yes, those nettles certainly do sting, but I remember the Dock Leaves that grew nearby always took the sting out of the tail when rubbed on the wound. Funny that nettle tea settles instead of stinging the stomach.

  19. Can relate to your “nettles” experience & comparative life lesson: even though we think we won’t, somehow we manage to truck on. That goes for most of us, anyways…

  20. I just spent a fruitless hour trying to remember (if I knew) how to say ‘thou shalt not perish’ in German. Need I also mention I love reading your poetry?

  21. Hi Claudia loved the poem. I hadn’t heard the fable about the boy and the nettles before. Stinging nettles aren’t native to Australia (although some grow them) but I did get a real sense of how much they hurt from your poem. Esther’s story really resonates with me and was an unexpected yet welcome connection made by the poem. Those lines if I perish I perish still send shivers down my spine. Poesie

  22. What a lovely take Claudia-that first para is so perfect and yes,no fun living a staid life-throw in a few risks or fall into them-just to spice things up,lol!I love taking risks -lots of scars to show for that 😉

  23. Excellent fable–kinda reminded me of one of my favorites “Bre’r Rabbit getting thrown into Briar Patch” only that was about tricking someone to toss you where you want to go…I’m a grab it boldly type–jump and hope for the best 😉 Great poem!

  24. Ah, I am one of those who tread lightly into things (generally). However, it has its setbacks. While one like me may avoid deep scrapes and scars, she is also often paralyzed by fear and such.