Putting Up Peaches by Merrijane Rice

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Beside the garden wall where grapevines run,
a peach tree stands, diseased and bent with age.
Her blackened branches reach up to the sun
in daily supplication for her wage.

Each year, I think, must surely be her last,
but faithfulness is undeterred by whims.
So, not content to rest on harvests past,
she bears young fruit on geriatric limbs.

With every spring, new buds and blooms emerge
and swell with promise fed by summer rains.
Though twisted and decrepit, still the surge
of liquid light flows through her ancient veins.

I’ll gather and preserve her living gold
to line my pantry shelves against the cold.

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MRice-HeadshotMerrijane is a resident of Kaysville, Utah, where the mountains loom large, the sky is beautiful even when it’s gray, and the geese are always just passing through. She loves nature in a literary sense, often drawing from it to write poetry. But do not even think about trying to take her camping unless there is a structure nearby with functional plumbing.

Image: Vincent van Gogh, De roze perzikboom (The pink peach tree), 1888.

Small Garden by Sally Cook

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Milkweed has risen up, alive and green

And shines in glow of red ball sunset’s rays.

Plump peaches hang from slender branches, seen

Against a patterned, darkened lily bed,

Maroon against bright emerald on the edge.

Wedging, straw flowers, purple, push on through

Amid a cloud of lemon primrose hedge.

 

A floating border spreads  and picks up red

To add some spice to this small sandwiched space.

Here everything pays homage to the fact

Of foliage—plump roses interface

With fruits, where Monarchs flourish and are fed.

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For more from Sally Cook, and a bio, go here.

Painting by the poet: “As New England Used To Be.”

 

An Interlude by Sally Cook

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He was the stream and she the underbrush,

The rain that fell upon his upturned face.

She was the shadowed glade in evening’s hush

That, blotting out the sun, absorbed its grace.

She was the sea, and he the wavering shore—

The harvest moon that hung above her door.

 

A thousand stars crowded to hold one thought

When similes, comparisons were all

That she was left with after she was taught

That streams dry up, butt up against a wall

Where tangled roots are tripped upon in haste.

Sweet woodruff, poison ivy, interlaced.

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For more from Sally Cook, and a bio, go here.

The painting, “White Garden, Emily Dickinson,” was created by the poet while a Wilbur Fellow in 1986.

 

My Latest Trip to the Berkeley Botanical Gardens by Theric Jepson

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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.

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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 géant” courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.