Posts Tagged ‘garden’



They are dead,

the sunflowers,

all petal-less and brown,

and I almost uprooted them

from the garden,

almost tossed aside

their tall brittle stalks,

their heavy bowed heads,


but see today how

the small gray birds

flutter amongst the dead

and dive for dark seeds,

how the garden air shimmers

with dozens of wings.


Patience, I think,

with whatever we believe

is lost—

so much beauty survives

even after a frost.

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Guilt finds the seeds and buries them in April,

hiding them darkly so no one will see.

He waters them secretly.

The sun does what the sun will do.

The seeds sprout and he thins them,

unwilling to pluck them all,

unwitting that the ones that remain

grow stronger.


Desire brings fertilizer, tends to the leaves.

Her ladybugs devour aphid filigrees.

She talks to the greens.

In September she builds waterwalls

to shelter the near-ripened fruit.

She offers to share her tomatoes with you.

Take a bite, she says, her voice like sun.

You can’t stop with just one.

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with thanks to Artful for the fabulous starts



Last year’s potatoes—

small red fists

with stubby white shoots—

they have something

to teach the heart about


about how to find something of value

in their own darkness

something that knows how to reach

toward the light,

something that when faced

with darkness again

will reach even farther

until they become

astonishingly prolific, alive.



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One Solace




amidst hail torn leaves

no less intoxicating

the scent of nasturtium

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On Emergence




In May I planted a whole row of beans

along the back fence of the garden,

pushed each of the small white seeds one inch

into the spring-damp soil. I waited weeks.

Not one came up. Not one.

I planted them again, planted them in twos

two inches apart. I waited weeks. Three

came up. There were over 100 seeds.

I am trying to tell you that sometimes

what we wish for does not happen.

Though we do everything by the rules.

Though we have known success before.

Though we long for our plans to take root,

to bloom, to fruit. Then all through the rows

emerged this spring dozens of volunteer cosmos.

This morning, a generous riot of pink, dark pink

and white fluttering in the spaces where

I’d envisioned only the green of beans.

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Pulling tall grass

from amidst the peonies

it’s hard not to admire

the tenaciousness

of grass, admire it

as I rip it out, every

last blade.

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It is deliberate work

thinning the carrots,

the fingers slowly traveling

the row. It is right

that it should be careful,

unweaving the slender

green stems, choosing

the sprouts that will stay,

tugging on the thin white threads

of roots that must go. It is right

that there is tenderness

in the hands as they do

what need be done,

though the work

is non-sentimental.

Where there are too many,

none will thrive.

There is room for this fact

in the gardener, though

it is easier, somehow,

to pretend that there

is no metaphor

worth noticing, just

the task at hand, giving

each carrot enough room

to grow. They’re just carrots.

It’s just a garden.


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The garden rows are visible now,

the slender shoots of carrots,


the succulent leaves of calendula,

the curly beginnings of kale—


after many years these first green shapes

feel like old friends.


I greet them as I walk the rows,

tell them they are doing fine.


And then there are the gaps

between the sprouts, the places


where I can only guess about

why the seeds don’t grow.


A lack of water? Planted too deep?

A shadow? A dud of a seed? A slug?


Of course I take it personally

and wonder what else I should have done.


And then I pull out the extra seeds

and fill in the spots where there is no green.


There is no use in blaming. Just plant the seed

where nothing is growing. It’s so simple,


the task, so lacking in blame.

There are gardens in me begging


for me to do the same—to notice

where there is failure to thrive,


and to seed again, then bring water,

bring nourishment, wait.





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before I push

the dark seeds into the dirt,

preparing the dirt





for a beginning—

roomfuls of gold





I say to the empty vase

my heart




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Inner Eden




And if I found in me

a spot of land where

anything could grow—

some miraculous soil

that knows only yes—

then what would

I dare sow?

In such tender

territory, even breath

might take root.

A whisper becomes

a seed becomes

an unknowable

flowering. A song,

of course, I’d

plant a love song.

But imagine if,

as I knelt, lips to earth,

a loneliness spilled

from my pockets,

strewing its millions

of tired spores

throughout the plot.

And what if an arrow

from an old wound

chose then to dislodge?

Is it in fear or in joy

I dance at the edge

of inevitable fertility, longing

for the impossible—

to plant only beauty,

its fruits reseeding

all around us growing

only more beauty,

more beauty.









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