Tufts, follicles, grubstake biennial rosettes, a low- life beach-blond scruff of couch grass: notwithstanding the interglinting dregs of wholesale upheaval and dismemberment, weeds do not hesitate, the wheeling rise of the ailanthus halts at nothing--and look! here's a pokeweed, sprung up from seed dropped by some vagrant, that's seized a foothold: a magenta- girdered bower, gazebo twirls of blossom rounding into raw-buttoned, garnet-rodded fruit one more wayfarer perhaps may salvage from the season's frittering, the annual wreckage.
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Poems about Gardens
19 This is the bird hour, peony blossoms falling bigger than wren hearts On the cutting border's railroad ties, Sparrows and other feathery things Homing from one hedge to the next, late May, gnat-floating evening. Is love stronger than unlove? Only the unloved know. And the mockingbird, whose heart is cloned and colorless. And who's this tiny chirper, lost in the loose leaves of the weeping cherry tree? His song is not more than three feet off the ground, and singular, And going nowhere. Listen. It sounds a lot like you, hermano. It sounds like me.
Tomorrow we are bones and ash, the roots of weeds poking through our skulls. Today, simple clothes, empty mind, full stomach, alive, aware, right here, right now. Drunk on music, who needs wine? Come on, Sweetheart, let's go dancing while we still have feet.
"And these, small, unobserved . . . " —Janet Lewis The lizard, an exemplar of the small, Spreads fine, adhesive digits to perform Vertical push-ups on a sunny wall; Bees grapple spikes of lavender, or swarm The dill's gold umbels and low clumps of thyme. Bored with its trellis, a resourceful rose Has found a nearby cedar tree to climb And to festoon with floral furbelows. Though the great, heat-stunned sunflower looks half-dead The way it, shepherd's crook-like, hangs its head, The herbs maintain their modest self-command: Their fragrances and colors warmly mix While, quarrying between the pathway’s bricks, Ants build minute volcanoes out of sand.
My house is torn down-- Plaster sifting, the pillars broken, Beams jagged, the wall crushed by the bulldozer. The whole roof has fallen On the hall and the kitchen The bedrooms, the parlor. They are trampling the garden-- My mother's lilac, my father's grapevine, The freesias, the jonquils, the grasses. Hot asphalt goes down Over the torn stems, and hardens. What will they do in springtime Those bulbs and stems groping upward That drown in earth under the paving, Thick with sap, pale in the dark As they try the unrolling of green. May they double themselves Pushing together up to the sunlight, May they break through the seal stretched above them Open and flower and cry we are living.
1 When the moon appears and a few wind-stricken barns stand out in the low-domed hills and shine with a light that is veiled and dust-filled and that floats upon the fields, my mother, with her hair in a bun, her face in shadow, and the smoke from her cigarette coiling close to the faint yellow sheen of her dress, stands near the house and watches the seepage of late light down through the sedges, the last gray islands of cloud taken from view, and the wind ruffling the moon's ash-colored coat on the black bay. 2 Soon the house, with its shades drawn closed, will send small carpets of lampglow into the haze and the bay will begin its loud heaving and the pines, frayed finials climbing the hill, will seem to graze the dim cinders of heaven. And my mother will stare into the starlanes, the endless tunnels of nothing, and as she gazes, under the hour's spell, she will think how we yield each night to the soundless storms of decay that tear at the folding flesh, and she will not know why she is here or what she is prisoner of if not the conditions of love that brought her to this. 3 My mother will go indoors and the fields, the bare stones will drift in peace, small creatures -- the mouse and the swift -- will sleep at opposite ends of the house. Only the cricket will be up, repeating its one shrill note to the rotten boards of the porch, to the rusted screens, to the air, to the rimless dark, to the sea that keeps to itself. Why should my mother awake? The earth is not yet a garden about to be turned. The stars are not yet bells that ring at night for the lost. It is much too late.
Now I rest my head on the satyr's carved chest, The hollow where the heart would have been, if sandstone Had a heart, if a headless goat man could have a heart. His neck rises to a dull point, points upward To something long gone, elusive, and at his feet The small flowers swarm, earnest and sweet, a clamor Of white, a clamor of blue, and black the sweating soil They breed in...If I sit without moving, how quickly Things change, birds turning tricks in the trees, Colorless birds and those with color, the wind fingering The twigs, and the furred creatures doing whatever Furred creatures do. So, and so. There is the smell of fruit And the smell of wet coins. There is the sound of a bird Crying, and the sound of water that does not move... If I pick the dead iris? If I wave it above me Like a flag, a blazoned flag? My fanfare? Little fare with which I buy my way, making things brave? The way Now I bend over and with my foot turn up a stone, And there they are: the armies of pale creatures who Without cease or doubt sew the sweet sad earth.
I went to the dances at Chandlerville, And played snap-out at Winchester. One time we changed partners, Driving home in the moonlight of middle June, And then I found Davis. We were married and lived together for seventy years, Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children, Eight of whom we lost Ere I had reached the age of sixty. I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick, I made the garden, and for holiday Rambled over the fields where sang the larks, And by Spoon River gathering many a shell, And many a flower and medicinal weed-- Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys. At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all, And passed to a sweet repose. What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, Anger, discontent and drooping hopes? Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you-- It takes life to love Life.
Three windows are at work here, sophisticated spaces against the day, against the light. The sky looks as if it has been added later to a glimpsed world as nobody saw it. Small gaps of awkwardness between overlapping leaves bring their time to us, as we our time to them. The hand alone is amazing, the skull and the owner’s hand holding it, together on a page for fifty years, with the earliest smile. A rope vase of flowers returns the angels to the ground, that still beautiful brown.
Is it winter again, is it cold again, didn't Frank just slip on the ice, didn't he heal, weren't the spring seeds planted didn't the night end, didn't the melting ice flood the narrow gutters wasn't my body rescued, wasn't it safe didn't the scar form, invisible above the injury terror and cold, didn't they just end, wasn't the back garden harrowed and planted— I remember how the earth felt, red and dense, in stiff rows, weren't the seeds planted, didn't vines climb the south wall I can't hear your voice for the wind's cries, whistling over the bare ground I no longer care what sound it makes when was I silenced, when did it first seem pointless to describe that sound what it sounds like can't change what it is— didn't the night end, wasn't the earth safe when it was planted didn't we plant the seeds, weren't we necessary to the earth, the vines, were they harvested?
1. When you have forgotten (to bring into Play that fragrant morsel of rhetoric, Crisp as autumnal air), when you Have forgotten, say, sun-lit corners, brick Full of skyline, rowhomes, smokestacks, Billboards, littered rooftops & wondered What bread wrappers reflect of our hunger, 2. When you have forgotten wide-brimmed hats, Sunday back-seat leather rides & church, The doorlock like a silver cane, the broad backs Swaying or the great moan deep churning, & the shimmer flick of flat sticks, the lurch Forward, skip, hands up Ailey-esque drop, When you have forgotten the meaningful bop, 3. Hustlers and their care-what-may, blasé Ballet and flight, when you have forgotten Scruffy yards, miniature escapes, the way Laundry lines strung up sag like shortened Smiles, when you have forgotten the Fish Man Barking his catch in inches up the street "I've got porgies. I've got trout. Feeesh 4. Man," or his scoop and chain scale, His belief in shad and amberjack; when You have forgotten Ajax and tin pails, Blue crystals frothing on marble front Steps Saturday mornings, or the garden Of old men playing checkers, the curbs White-washed like two lines out to the burbs, 5. Or the hopscotch squares painted new In the street, the pitter-patter of feet Landing on rhymes. "How do you Like the weather, girls? All in together girls, January, February, March, April... " The jump ropes' portentous looming, Their great, aching love blooming. 6. When you have forgotten packs of grape Flavored Now & Laters, the squares Of sugar flattening on the tongue, the elation You felt reaching into the corner-store jar, Grasping a handful of Blow Pops, candy bars With names you didn't recognize but came To learn. All the turf battles. All the war games. 7. When you have forgotten popsicle stick Races along the curb and hydrant fights, Then, retrieve this letter from your stack I've sent by clairvoyant post & read by light. For it brought me as much longing and delight. This week's Father's Day; I've a long ride to Philly. I'll give this to Gramps, then head to Black Lily.
Fairies begin their day by coming together a moment and sharing joy.
They love the feeling, which dew on the leaves draws from grass, lilacs and the response of meadow and flowers to the dawn.
Diminutive green sylphs now run in the grass, whose growth seems intimately associated with theirs, a single line of concentration.
They talk to themselves, constantly repeating, with an intensity causing their etheric doubles, grass, to vibrate as they pass, vivifying growth.
To rabbits and young children they’re visible, but I see points of light, tiny clouds of color and gleams of movement.
The lawn is covered with these flashes.
In low alyssums along a border, one exquisite, tiny being plays around stems, passing in and out of each bud.
She’s happy and feels much affection for the plants, which she regards as her own body.
The material of her actual body is loosely knit as steam or a colored gas, bright apple-green or yellow, and is very close to emotion.
Tenderness for plants shows as rose; sympathy for their growth and adaptability as flashes of emerald.
When she feels joy, her body responds all-over with a desire to be somewhere or do something for plants.
Hers is not a world of surfaces--skin, husks, bark with definite edges and identities.
Trees appear as columns of light melting into surroundings where form is discerned, but is glowing, transparent, mingling like breath.
She tends to a plant by maintaining fusion between the plant’s form and life-vitality contained within.
She works as part of nature’s massed intelligence to express the involution of awareness or consciousness into a form.
And she includes vitality, because one element of form is action.
Sprouting, branching, leafing, blossoming, crumbling to humus are all form to a fairy.