Let them be as flowers, always watered, fed, guarded, admired, but harnessed to a pot of dirt.

I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed, clinging on cliffs, like an eagle wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.

To have broken through the surface of stone, to live, to feel exposed to the madness of the vast, eternal sky. To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea, carrying my soul, my seed, beyond the mountains of time or into the abyss of the bizarre.

I’d rather be unseen, and if then shunned by everyone, than to be a pleasant-smelling flower, growing in clusters in the fertile valley, where they’re praised, handled, and plucked by greedy, human hands.

I’d rather smell of musty, green stench than of sweet, fragrant lilac. If I could stand alone, strong and free, I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed.

(c) Julio Noboa Polanco

  • Write a poem beginning with the words, "I'd rather be a [ name it]. Read it back to yourself. What surprised you? What did you discover about your identity?
  • Would you rather be an ugly weed or a a pleasant-smelling flower in the valley? Take out your journal and explore the differences and the pros and cons of each.
  • Who would you be if you lived strong and free?