Beggar’s Lice /Wild Carrot Seeds


So Cat asked me a question about my poetry last night that made me think.

She said,

“What if people don’t know what Beggar’s lice are in your poem? ”

“They should look it up then,”  I said.

“Won’t that make the poem inaccessible to your audience if they have to look up a word?” she asked.

HMMM.  I am always looking things up. If I am into a poem I dissect it to get all the meaning I can out of the poem. I also do that when I am writing poetry.  These are my rabbit trails and one of my deepest pleasures of poetry.

It did make me stop and think. Should I have given an explanation of Beggar’s Lice in the poem or as a sub-note?

I decided to look up Beggar’s Lice again and find a picture to post.  Beggar’s Lice in my experience is a small burr you get in your socks and shoes when you walk in meadows and woods. If you don’t pull them off and they get thrown in the washing machine they will inevitably wind up in the band of your underwear or bra. They are as annoying as hell and tedious to remove from shoes and socks. I spent many a time not only pulling them off my shoes and socks but also my children’s shoes and socks.

Much to my surprise this morning I discovered what I thought was  Beggar’s lice was not but rather the seed of Queen Anne’s Lace or also called Wild Carrot.

I have this poem called “Beggar’s Lice” and it is about a journey.  It is a walk in my beautiful Sterling Creek forest behind my house. It is also a metaphorical journey.

Unfortunately now looking back on it I misidentified, scientifically Beggar’s lice and Hackelia virginiana which does not grow on the West Coast. It bothers me.

Either way, it has been published on  Enjoy it or hate it but please give me a thumbs up at the bottom of the page, or a thumb’s down.

May you never find burrs or beggar’s lice in your underwear.

Beggar’s Lice by Barbara A Meier


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