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  • Writer's pictureLaura Lee (Lalee) Bond

Tar On

Updated: Jun 1, 2022

a hopeful green flame

subversively devouring


Image of crack in blacktop, or tar street surface, with green plants growing up through the crack

On my drive home I notice the cracks in the asphalt and the grass poking up through it—the way the sunlight catches it, a hopeful green flame subversively devouring the long black tongue of civilization. It makes me smile. I feel a sip of heady giddiness and a gulp of warm hope.

Things will grow.

Things find a way to grow—even when I myself feel buried under layers of tar.

Even when the world itself feels buried under layers of tar.

And then I think about tar and how spelled backwards it’s rat; I’ve been dreaming of rats recently. Is that a clue? Feeling slightly ridiculous, I turn to the dictionary* to look up the word tar. It turns out there is a third meaning I’ve never heard of:

Verb (2)

: to urge to action —usually used with on


gob, hearty, jack, jack-tar, mariner, navigator, sailor, salt, sea dog, seafarer, seaman, shipman swab, swabbie [slang]



// a book about the adventurous lives of tars, skippers, and pirates of the 18th century

History and Etymology


Middle English terr, tarr, from Old English teoru; akin to Old English trēow tree — more at TREE entry 1

Hearty! Navigator! TREE! Did you see that? TREE??? Tar from tree. Aaaaand, back around to the beginning. To the plants, the hope givers, the life givers.

To the plants, the hope givers, the life givers.

Tar on

hopeful green flames

of grass navigating

the cracks in the

layers of heavy

rock sand bitumen.

Tar on

you shoots of giddy

underground glades

of glad-hearted


Tar on

you blades of

sharp glorious


Tar on

you self-nourishing


Tar on

hopeful green flames.

Tar on.

As always, thanks for reading!

*Dictionary entry taken from Merriam-Webster app.

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