Thomas Jefferson’s Poppies
It couldn’t have been easy.
As founding father, empire builder,
philosopher of state,
He suffered headaches, persistent diarrhea,
Insomnia into the small night hours.
For him the pursuit of happiness
Was an often distant, difficult ideal.
Remember though, he was a gardener,
The Monticello gardens laboratories
Of plants from every corner of the world.
And in those Virginia gardens grew exotic poppies,
White and purple plants of joy,
Sleepbringer to the ancients,
Milk of paradise,
For Kubla Khan the very hand of god.
Jefferson, a man of industry and contradiction
At work atop his mountain
Craved sleep, deep dreams, and peace,
Ever independent and industrious
Took matters into his own hands.
From his botanic pharmacy opium poppies
Offered comfort, brought release.