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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

 

 

 

sitting with flowers in the garden

until I am

flower in the garden

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Ode to the Patty Pan

 

 

 

I can imagine not everyone would look

at this plate of grilled pattypan squash

and start to salivate. I was one of them once,

 

those who think they dislike zucchini, crook necks,

patty pans. I, too, shunned the spongy flesh,

the seeded core. I was a scorner of squash.

 

I don’t exactly remember when it changed,

when I stopped wishing it off my plate,

began to grow it myself. Began to crave it—

 

and not just grated into sweet bread.

Not just sliced and forgotten in a rich tomato sauce.

No, I came to delight in the very squash-ness of it—

 

the way it embodies the abundance of summer.

The way it takes on other flavors but never

abandons its own. And here, tonight,

 

stacked on my plate like small green suns,

blistered and sweating from the grill,

the pattypan squash are luscious, delightful,

 

so utterly themselves. How hard it used to be

to appreciate them. I remember. How easily

it comes now, this thrill in what summer provides.

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Aphids are born pregnant.

I don’t want to believe it,

but it makes sense, considering

what’s happening in my kale.

And Google confirms it.

They are born pregnant.

And their embryos are also

pregnant. Three generations

of garden cripplers in each tiny

soft-bodied bug.

No matter how much I hate

and curse them, I have to admire

such insistence, such dedication

to survival.

 

It is like gratitude,

I think. Sometimes, it seems

as if there’s not much to be grateful for,

but if I can think of one blessing,

then often, buried in its belly

is another blessing,

and that gives birth to another.

Soon there’s a teeming colony

of gratitudes. And although

the news might try to squish them

or wash them away,

they persist.

 

Yes, all those tiny feasting gratitudes,

how easily they find a way

to thrive. How impressive

their tenacity, their drive.

 

 

 

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The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.

—Iyanla Vanzant

 

 

It’s violent, pulling the spinach

up by the roots. Rationalize

it has bolted. Rationalize

some plants will never thrive.

Rationalize that all things

have a cycle.

Despite the rational mind,

there is the actual ripping out

of the roots, the plucking

of the leaves, the tossing

of the stems.

 

But it’s just a vegetable,

you tell yourself.

It’s not a metaphor.

 

It gets harder to believe that.

At some point, Perhaps you see

there is nothing in the world,

not one thing, in which

you can’t find a shard of yourself.

Everything, everything is charged with meaning.

 

But clearing out the spinach

is a job that must be done.

So you learn to invest kindness

into your touch.

You sing as you do it,

and you say simple words:

Thank you, thank you.

 

You will make a lovely

bright green soup tonight.

In some rows, you transplant flowers

in the space left behind.

In some rows, you do nothing

and notice how beautiful it can be, absence.

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Amidst the sirens

and the horns,

tucked in between

the skyscrapers,

we found a garden

with a fountain

at its center

rung with trees

and lush green leaves

and purple hastas—

and there, inside

that sudden peace,

my dad and I

sat side by side

and didn’t solve

a goddammed thing

but listened to

the sound of water

falling, falling,

and watched it

rising up,

rising up again.

 

 

 

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Pulling the long red radish bulbs

from the garden, I marvel

at their pinkness, rub off the dirt,

bite into the crisp white flesh.

There are few tastes that bite

just right this way—make the mouth

happy to be a mouth and it teaches me,

without trying, that sometimes

when we wait too long,

a thing turns bitter. But oh, get

the timing right, my god, it’s sweet.

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Midsummer

 

 

 

And after the hail and

the midsummer frost,

the garden remembers

how to summer, how to green,

how to leaf and root and bloom,

and everything is so alive,

even this gardener who somehow

does not hear the clock inside

of everything, no, all she hears

is the roar of the river, the

bright chorus of insects,

the seemingly infinite beat

of her own goldening heart.

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( … )

 

 

 

She wanders the parenthetical garden,

each curved stem an invitation to step

away from the trail (remember how the Stoic

said to dwell on the beauty of life, to run

with the stars), and soon she is what some

call lost (Any fool can know, said Einstein,

the point is to understand), and there,

lost in the sound of the bird she doesn’t hear

(Heard melodies are sweet, said Keats,

but those unheard are sweeter), she sits

on the swing of her thoughts (what is it

she is so afraid of) (seek those, said Rumi,

who fan your flame)(how comfortable

can she become with her errors)(false start)

and notices how it is the knots that hold up

the swing (what story is she ignoring?).

This garden, my god, it is beautiful.

She was going somewhere, wasn’t she?

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Pulling ten thousand

yellow-petalled weeds—

how many more millions

left to pull? How soon

will they be back?

Still, marveling

for a moment

at this small bit of

weedless dirt.

In me, how many

thousands of weeds?

And beneath them,

how many gardens

just waiting to be revealed?

 

 

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In almost every garden bed,

the sunflowers seedlings volunteer—

and every year I dig them up

and find them a home along the fence

where they can grow extravagantly.

Oh exuberance, of course

I love the sunflowers, their crazy willingness

to grow amongst the beets, amongst

the greens, amongst the chard

and kale and peas. I love their insistence

on making beauty and reaching for light.

I love their great golden heads,

playground of bees, nodding until

all their petals are gone. I know

they don’t mean to shade everything else,

don’t mean to block out the light.

They’re just doing what they were

designed to do. Grow tall.

Be stunning. Gather light. Make more.

 

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