Inspired by Stanley Kunitz

 

(c) Melba Christie 2018

Every spring I try to plant a beautiful garden like the ones I have seen in magazines. No sooner I plant Begonias, Calandula, Petunias and Pansies, our resident cottontail rabbit and  occasional visiting deer snap up the fresh or new blooms.

The rabbit loves the clover that grows wild and free in our backyard. Clover is a weed but I cannot bring myself to stripping it because it has very dainty white flowers and because I too love the green leaves.

Therefore, my garden is composed of large ceramic pots. I have resigned to the fact that I may never have a garden except for the improvised one on our deck.

So what does Stanley Kunitz have to do with my want to be garden? Nothing really. Except that Mark Doty once described how Mr. Kunitz would walk through his garden “paying strict attention to every inch of it.”

I too thought about Mr. Kunitz’s  visits to his garden.  My grandmother never left her house for years except to step out into her small garden. Hers was a real garden.  She talked to the flowers and plants; she claimed they would grow more and bloom more robustly.

Thus, I wrote a poem about her love of nature and especially her garden.

 

Grandma only felt safe in her garden

the lavender plant soothed her soul

and helped her cope with her phobia.

 

On a few occasions, I heard her sing

to the tiger lilies. They leaned and seemed to listen.

She stood very still as if she were watching out

for prey like the cottontail did on the grassy lawn

there were no prey to speak of

no one would ever harm her

but she listened carefully to nature’s sounds and warnings

every morning among the daffodils

She is gone now

and so is Stanley K.

I wonder if they stand together

in heaven’s divine garden

praying for us here on earth.

 

 


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