Poetry Sunday: James Kershner | CAI

Poetry Sunday: James Kershner

Mar 12, 2017

James W. Kershner reads his poem, "Invasive."


Phragmites australis

reed under siege

damned by naturalists

userper of cattails

wild rice

wetland orchids

dubbed Phragmites vulgaris,

but noted in brackets

[illegitimate name]

Phragmites thickets

make poor homes

for mussels and crabs

prolific Phragmites

lovely on roadsides

sturdy tall reeds

with fluffy tan plumage

blowing in gentle

onshore breezes

Phragmites americanus

decried as an alien

no longer welcome

I used to call you “sea wheat”

amber waves of grain, I thought,

from sea to shining sea.

James W. Kershner of Cummaquid is a professor at Cape Cod Community College, where he teaches a variety of writing courses. A former journalist, he is the author of two textbooks on writing. He is the co-founder of Steeple Street Poets and the leader of the Cape Sangha, a Buddhist meditation group.