Posts Tagged ‘persistence’

Though the garden wears mostly brown leaves
and dried vines, though the stems
of the sunflowers are brittle and broken and bent,
though frost has taken nearly every living thing,
the snapdragons still bloom, scarlet flags of persistence,
their heads deep red, their petals still soft,
and I know it won’t last forever,
but for now, they resist what is cold, what is dark,
and I, while I can, I want to be snapdragon,
want to bring to this life all the beauty I can muster,
even when it’s dire, and give it all away.

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The Growing

Vivian, the garden is ready now for winter.
Today was the day to pull everything out—
the remaining carrots, a few beets, the dried stalks
of sunflowers with their seed heads already emptied
into the soil. Next year there will be many volunteers.

I was surprised how many plants still had life.
The calendula, for instance, had dozens of new green leaves
flourishing around their bases, despite the frost and snow.
The snapdragons, too, had several inches of new growth,
though winter is near, though their flowers are dead.

What an astonishment, how life insists on itself.
Today I read an essay that said, The purpose of life is life.
Something thrilled in me when I read it,
though how to reconcile these words with the choice
your brother made to give up this life?

There are moments when I watch you find pleasure
in some simple act—stapling fabric to a box to make a costume.
Drawing on your hand. Snuggling the cat.
Life seems to burgeon around all the places inside you
that died when your brother died.

It’s a choice you make, I know.
The garden will be full of surprises next year.
I marvel at what grows.

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So insistent
the apricot petals
press against
the winter buds
to emerge
first white
then pink,
like millions
of tiny proofs
for hope:
the softest
parts of us
struggle and
swell against
the hardened shell
of I can’t
and open

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After the frost, the snapdragons remain standing.

They didn’t change colors the way the basil did.


Didn’t shrivel and flag like the beans.

They met the cold affront with beauty,


and a week later, they still stand, erect,

blossoms only slightly faded.


What an astonishing way

to meet an almost invincible force.


Even now, at the base of the lifeless stems,

tiny green leaves appear from the roots.


They insist, This isn’t over yet.

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Two Persistences




all day

tugging on my sleeve—

this kiss




that inner monologue—

letting it sing

till it loses its voice


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