My Latest Trip to the Berkeley Botanical Gardens
was accomplished with more than the usual number of boys in tow.
Four in fact. Three mine
and a friend.
To see the metasequoia and false rocks €”and mating newts
(it’s that time of year)
spotted first and immediately by my three-year-old
who can’t see a dirty sock on the floor no matter how I point
but a perfectly still newt under a foot of pond water
is unmistakable to his bright eyes.
He’s wearing a Cars cap over his long blond hair and his
favorite part of this trip seems to be the railroad-tie stairs.
The roses in their garden are dormant in February
But somewhere in the Gardens is my love
(with three other boys)
And I am hers.
Now that his wife has bought a membership to the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Theric Jepson should be able to visit them more often. He is the author of the novel Byuck.
Photo “Sequoia gÃ©ant” courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Mother always dreamed of our perfection,
daughters who escaped her careless jumble
with cool minds and clear heads. A strong woman
was (she first thought) in lines of a chi garden
with stones laid straight and raking gravel €”
tines in furrows, dug for our perfection.
Then battling with star thistles and watermelons
sprung up from seeds of wars in a tough tumble
of coiling vine, she became the sort of woman
who taught her daughters the raw mysticism
of broken earth while the sting of new soil
stirred us. She demonstrated the perfection
of bulbs thrown, of planting in a pattern
of scatter. With closed eyes, she tossed her handful
in hope that we would all grow to be women
of choice. What renaissance–the perfection
of rebellion in us tangled women.
For more by Sarah, go here and here.
Like me, my first children arrived in March. Looking down at them now, their branches bowed and thick with ripened weights, green through the sun’s steady warmth €”these unruly creatures bear no obvious relationship to the sweet brown seeds carefully tucked into flimsy plastic trays and lovingly carried outdoors on the days spring chose to trail her warmth along the soil, stirring their pale souls toward the light. In the beginning, when we planted our garden, we worried over our sprouting family, Nick more than I. He cradled the trays as he moved them about the yard, seeking the sun with a visionary faith in our vegetable family. We figured that if the plants lived, we might qualify for a cat by winter and eventually, human children. Continue reading “Green Children by Jenny Webb”
These are the woods
Where my mother played,
Her playhouse €”an outline of
Stones on the ground.
Beside the creek
Her father gardened,
But the water rose
And spread his seeds
Among the trees.
Summer was the time
For berry picking.
We each took a bucket,
Walked into the woods
And filled it with berries.
The aunts said, “Don’t pick
The unripe berries,
The rosy green ones,
The color of dawn:
Pick the ripe ones,
Black as hell,
Full of the sun
And ready to explode.”
At the edge of the woods
A castle of canes,
As sharp as shark’s teeth
Kept us out,
But Grandma’s dog,
An arthritic hound,
His black coat sleek
And hot from the sun
Bayed at some creature and
Shambled after it
Into the thicket.
Above, two eagles
Breasted the wind
Like knives at the ready,
Their scything shadows
Swept across us.
All of this happened,
But memory sanctifies
Lost moments like this,
This day of picking
Berries, this day
Of eating fat berries
Till the juice fills our veins.
Will Reger has contributed several poems to WIZ. You can find his bio here.
Photo by Lewis Collard via Wikimedia Commons.
You, but not you.
The earth braces itself against
my first spade full €”ground softened by
my salt €”unearthing roots like fingers
spread to sky, claiming a blessing
or, at least, an answer.
You are earth. You. But not
you €”we never buried you, and
I never saw your face in death.
I’m alive, yet not alive.
I walk through shadowed valleys and
I find the Tree €”not fruited, but felled;
a blackened trunk, with spring sprung up
in a hundred nubile branches €”
Me. And you.
The garden must be dug. My young
plants wait on the sill, stretching leggy
stems to reach the light. I turn the
earth. What lies beneath? My spade-tip
scrapes the iron mantle, while I
hang on the wooden handle.
To read Sarah’s bio and other Spring Poetry Runoff entries, go here and here.
There is no better talk
thoughts shared in violet hollows
where not so much praise as scent
not so much words as velvet €”
soft petals on our faces €”
speak our language.
So, love, make plain
you might wish in digging out
green hills for four-leaved omens
we might taste in stems of waiting clover
and I might see in hollows of your
throat, your lips, your eyes.
Sarah Dunster contributes regularly to WIZ as a writer and a reader. Her wide-eyed wonder at the world and at words embodies the spirit of LONNOL month. She has published in Dialogue and Fire in the Pasture. For more, go here.
How ugly you all are,
An all-over ugly!
Iris bulbs unearthed and scythed
Of top leaves,
I lay your twisted, tuberous
Bodies across a gutted paper sack
And take a moment to grimace
At your grotesquery.
Dirt clings to your stringy reaching roots.
Not even warm water and bleach
Can pretty the rough hide of your skin.
Poor horrid hags!
But wait €”don’t droop,
Shrivel dry in shame.
For I know your secret.
You keep it like a locket,
Or maybe a pearl,
Deep in the water of your flesh €”
A tiara of petals, jewels of silk,
A blush pressed within paper wings.
Each spring, you rise
Slim-necked as swans and slender-leaved
To curve rainbows into blossoms.
Yes, majesty resides in these lumps,
These commoner dumplings €”
Children of the coronet.
Who would guess such a spectacle
But those who’ve already seen
The princess curled within the peasant €”
The goddess in the hag flower.
Sarah E. Page graduated Cum Laude from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in English in 2007 and is pursuing her Master of Science and certification in Secondary English at Southern Connecticut State University. Her poetry has been published in Noctua Review, Mormon Artist, Inscape: A Journal of Literature and Art, and included in the anthology Fire in the Pasture: Twenty-First Century Mormon Poets. When not scribbling novels or taking pictures of the ragged aster and other weeds running rampant in her garden, she enjoys getting lost on long walks in the Naugatuck State Forest.