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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Communion

 

 

 

At midday, I dug beneath damp straw

and gently ran my fingers through dirt,

and, there, in the kingdom of earth worms,

found dozens of beautiful ruby-skinned potatoes,

each one of them precious in my hands.

 

God knows I have longed to be found this way—

pulled out from my darkness and cradled,

held up to the light with an oooh and an ahh

and a laugh of joy, though I’m slightly misshapen,

though I’m bumpy and imperfect.

 

There are days when I see through it so easily,

the longing to be loved, and I simply feel the love

that always exists, the love that grows in darkness,

that is utterly unconcerned with worthiness,

that feels no need for discovery.

 

There are moments when I can’t imagine

I ever thought I was lost, like today,

kneeling in the dirt, marveling at the beauty

of potatoes, mud-smudged and lumpy,

knowing myself as another who belongs to the earth.

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Letting It Be

 

 

There is a carpenter in me

with an impressive tool belt.

She thinks she can fix everything.

 

Every time there’s a leak in the ducts,

she blames that darn condensation,

and whips out her metallic tape.

 

And when there’s a heart break,

she mumbles something about not meeting code,

then takes note of all the cracks,

 

all the places where it’s falling apart,

and gets to work: cleans up and preps

new concrete to hold things together.

 

I know she’s doing what she knows best,

I know she has good intentions.

But today, while she runs off to seek

 

just the right hammer, just the right nails,

I take those leaky ducts and that broken heart

into the garden and dig potatoes.

 

The soil is cool and slips soft

though my fingers as I sift for yellow fingerlings

and red-skinned Desirees.

 

There is a gardener in me who doesn’t try

to fix anything. She says in a quiet southern drawl,

Sweet thing, bring all that brokenness here

 

and let it walk amongst the sunflowers.

Let it weed the carrots and pick

some calendula bouquets. And nothing

 

gets fixed, but something shifts as I sit

beside unruly mint, its green spears rampant,

its scent so cooling, so sweet.

 

 

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Push again the small dried peas

one inch into the earth. The gaps

in the rows where they did not grow,

do not take these personally.

Not everything comes to fruition,

but that is no reason to stop planting.

In fact there is every reason to believe

that not so long from now

the sweet green song of fresh sweet peas

will serenade your impatient tongue

if only your hands keep doing their work.

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I snip off dead flowers

to trick the pansy

into blooming again

 

wonder which

of my past

blossoms

to cut

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After the frost,

the sweet peas

rise from the dirt

like little green angels

with bowed heads

and tiny green wings—

 

it’s enough to make

a woman believe

small miracles can happen

if only she plants

the seed.

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in the sunflower bed,

a volunteer potato—

letting it grow right there

 

 

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Digging there in the dirt

with small seeds

in your hands

you hear the wind

high in the cottonwoods,

you hear the silence

sown inside the wind,

and the quieter

you are, you hear

perhaps, within you

a call like the geese

that aren’t flying

overhead, a startling

call, an almost

strangled sound

that, if you heard it,

might almost

wake you up.

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Those forlorn, sagging sunflowers,

all morning I watch the severe arcs

of their lifeless stems. Just yesterday,

they were so full of vigor before I pulled them up

and moved them across the garden.

I, too, have been ripped up. Is this why

I can’t stop staring at them all morning

at the slow, slow straightening,

the gradual unflagging of the leaves,

the marvelous resilience

I want to believe I might find inside me

no matter how brutal or well intentioned

the hand that tugs, tugs at my roots.

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Pay Attention, Heart

After the frost, the cosmos fronds
are brittle and brown. Not a hint
of return. Not a trace of pink. Brown.
Partially dust already. Sometimes it needs
to be this way in order for us to do
the work that must be done—the pulling
up of things by the roots and discarding
them into a pile. No, if there were any green chance
that the cosmos might bloom again,
it would be easier to tell the self a story
about how, with some luck and some care,
the plant might leap back to life.
But the story is a trick ladder,
every rung is covered in oil and even
if you reach the top it leads to nowhere.
Look. The flowers are dead. They were lovely once.
Say thank you. And give the stem a tug.

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What a gift
to kneel
in the dirt
and search
beneath
the heart-shaped leaves
for the long
and slender green
of beans,
marveling
at how straight
they are, how
green, marveling
as if
the way
they grow
could not only
feed us
but save us.

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