Plant Life

In his psychedelic, hallucinatory, surrealistic first novel, Meditations in Green, widely considered to be one of the best works of fiction about the Vietnam War, American writer Stephen Wright goes inside the minds of several war veterans to tell his harrowing story of Specialist 4 James Griffin. He also goes inside the minds of several plants.

And here’s one so-called “Meditation in Green” from Meditations in Green (the following passage opens Wright’s novel):


Here I am up in the window, that indistinguishable head you see listing toward the sun and waiting to be watered. Through a pair of strong field glasses you might be able to make out the color of my leaf (milky green), my flower (purple-white), and the poor profile of my stunted growth. In open country with stem and root room I could top four feet. Want a true botanical friend? Guess my species and you can take me home.

The view from this sill is not encouraging: colorless sky, lusterless win, sooty field of rusted television antennas, the unharvested crop of the city; and below, down a sheer wall, the persistent dead unavoidable concrete.

That is what it means to be torn from your native soil, exiled in a clay pot five stories vertical, a mile and a half horizontal from the nearest uncemented ground. I feel old. I take light through a glass, my rain from a pipe.

And so today’s prompt is to follow Wright’s lead and begin to write a piece of prose or poetry from the point of view of a plant (a tree, bush, flower, etc.).