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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Bouquet

  for Shawnee
 
 
This morning, knowing you were coming,
I went to the garden and cut the largest sunflower
to put in a vase on the table.
It was the loveliest of all the garden’s flowers,
planted from seed four months ago.
 
When I was younger than you are now,
my grandmother gave me voluptuous roses
in a simple blue glass vase.
I felt so connected to her this morning
as I made a bouquet for you.
I understood something new of devotion.          
 
Unable to thank her, I thanked
the sunflower. Her love from three decades ago
pulsed through the stem like sunshine.
How did I not feel the full magnitude then?
I give all that love to you.
 
 
 
 

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Life Lesson

Though the old snap peas dangle
dried and yellow on the dying vine,
and the lettuce, once tender,
has bolted and toughened,
and the kale, now blue,
is aphid-ridden,

the calendula, cosmos,
nasturtiums and marigolds
are in full-bloom and generous.
I fill the house with vases,
each bouquet a celebration
of great change.
It thrills me. Oh, summer,
you die so beautifully.

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In the Garden, Again




After breaking, after kneeling,
after raising my ripe fist, after
opening my palm, after
clenching it again, after running,
after hiding, after taking off
my masks, after stilling,
after shouting, after bargaining
with God, after crumpling
and cursing, after losing,
after song, after seeking,
after breath, after breath,
after breath,
I stand in the sunflowers
of early September
and watch as the bees weave
from one giant bloom to another,
and I, too, am sunflower,
tall-stemmed and face lifted,
shaped by the love of light
and the need for rain.
I stand here until some part of me
is again more woman than sunflower,
and she notices how,
for a few moments,
it was enough just to be alive.
Just to be alive, it was enough.

*

This poem was published in ONE ART: A Journal of Poetry on 9/11/22

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So Alive

After a late summer rain,
when the low sun shines
through the still-dripping world,
I walk in the garden and slip my hands
into the lettuce rows,
easily pulling up small green heads,
the leaves not yet bitter and tough.
Oh, the beauty of things in their prime.
Soon enough, the snow will be here,
the garden a drift of white.
No way to preserve this green for winter,
so I take it into me, dirt and all,
stuffing the leaves into my mouth.
I take in the green and the diamonding dew,
take in the golden light,
take in the sound of the river
and the growing shadows.
There are moments I understand
what blessing is. In this moment,
it looks exactly like what is.


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Your sister and I finished
this year’s gingerbread house—
not a duplex this time,
nor two condos connected
by a gingerbread bridge.
It’s a single house with angled walls
like in the Jan Brett illustrations.
How can I be so happy and so sad
at the same time?
It’s like being a rose
that has lost all its petals and yet
is in full petalled bloom.

There is, in every moment,
an opening that appears—
and I find I often stand
in the threshold, one foot
in now and the other
with you in eternity.
Then the kitchen
is not only a kitchen.
but a garden.
And every gardener knows
she must grow first herself.
And the baker knows
everything she makes
is made to disappear
in its prime.

And so it is on this night
of decorating gingerbread,
your sister and I use bright candies
and thin pretzel sticks to make
a one-room house
unlike any we’ve made before.
And we laugh. And I miss you.
My petals drift across the floor.
My petals open into wider bloom.

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Dear friends, 

It has been seven weeks since I sent you a poem–seven weeks since my son chose to take his life. Thank you for all the ways you’ve supported me in this time–prayers, emails, letters, gifts. Though I have been unable to respond to all your kindness with personal notes, please accept my enormous gratitude. Thank you. Thank you for all the love and kindness I have felt surrounding and infusing me–I have never felt alone. I am so grateful for you. 

I think I am ready to continue the daily sharing. We’ll see how it goes. 

with love, 
Rosemerry




Digging Potatoes, 2021



I am not the woman I was
a year ago when my son and I
harvested potatoes. Today
I must look like her—
bare hands in the dirt,
sunhat on. But she did not know
the deep loss of losing a son.
Perhaps she’d imagined it.
That is why she did everything
she could to keep such a loss
from happening. But the woman
I am today knows all too well
what I cannot control.
I plunge my fingers
into the cold earth
and talk to my son
as if he can hear me.
I miss you, I say. And I reminisce
about all the other years
we did this together. I ooh
at the size of the potatoes,
hold them up as if he can see.
What does love care of absence?
Love grows, despite death—
it roots in each cell and insists
on tendrilling, touching everything.
In the middle of the night,
a voice commanded me to remember:
Life needs us to live it.
All day I puzzle over the message.
All day I lean into the words.
I say them out loud as I pull out
potatoes, ask my son what he thinks
it might mean. No reply. He has become
one with life now in a way
I cannot yet understand.
And so I breathe into it, this chapter
of loss, this life needing me to live it.
All around me, inside me,
I notice how so much is changing, notice
in each moment, a new invitation.

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They don’t like it. For a day,
maybe two, they’ll hang limp
in the beds. I try to talk them
through it, try to tell them
it will be okay. But no one
wants to hear it will be okay
when it feels as if
the world is ending,
especially not nasturtiums—
nasturtiums can’t hear,
which makes me wonder
how much of what I say
to comfort others is really
intended to comfort myself.
In two days, the nasturtiums
will be upright and bright.
And I’ll praise them, tell them
I knew they could do it,
tell them how resilient they are.

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            for Marne


And though we have not spoken
in over thirty years, today I invite
the memory of my friend to walk
with me in the garden.
That girl would laugh
to learn I’ve become a woman
who weeds, who waters, who grows.
We were uncultivated together,
unrooted, unmanicured,
and blossoming anyway,
windblown and wandering and wild.
I bring that sweet madness now
into the tidy rows and marvel
at how things change.
For a moment, I am running with her
over a hill and spinning
and crashing and laughing.
For a moment, I am again that girl
who is more dream than flesh,
more wish than should, more
me than I ever could be.
How beautiful the song of that memory,
how it rhymes even now with whatever
is green in me.
Even now, I am running,
spinning, crashing, though anyone looking
at the garden might think
I am peacefully deadheading flowers,
talking to the spinach,
painstakingly pulling the weeds.

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Again. Again.




Almost every spring, I forget them,
the six packs of cosmos starts on the porch.
All it takes is one cold night,
an innocence of frost.

By dawn, the buds slightly droop.
By noon, the leaves hang darkened and limp.
By the next day, they’re black.
And dead.

It’s a familiar story. How one night
changes everything. How one day
I’m blooming, thriving, alive,
the next all I’d grown is gone.

I used to believe all was lost.
I used to throw the whole plant away.
But I learned what is dead serves as a blanket
to protect whatever still lives.

Wait, and in days, a tiny green filigree
emerges from the base.
In a month or two, it’s a bask of blooms,
no trace of how bleak it was.

Such tender study, the cosmos.
Blame is no part of their process.
They let what’s been lost be of service.
They know they are here to grow.

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Of course I knew the mint
would take over the pansy garden—
I planted it anyway.
Now the garden is overrun
with thick ropes of roots
and there’s mint in everything—
the garden, the lawn,
my hands. Even if I tried
to pull it all out, it would return
with its cool, bright scent of resilience.


It is, perhaps, similar to the way
a mother thinks she knows  
just how deep the roots of love
will go. But I, I had no idea
how, despite drought, despite
poor soil, love’s runners
would spread through every
inch of my life, untameable,
and just when I might think it gone,
new sprouts erupt
fragrant and green,
sweet and fresh,
everywhere, everywhere.

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