A Spot of Soil


With Spring come thoughts of gardening.  I would not say that gardening is blissful.  In fact, gardening is work.  But working with the soil and tending to plants bring rewards both within yourself and for your dinner table.  The earth is my garden.  I am both the seedling and gardener.  The soil is mine to work, to nourish, as I determine.  I will grow, with twists and knots and bends, to be sure, deformed here and there, but whole.  I will grow and become myself, as I was in the beginning, as I will be when I move on.  I am me, after all, and you are always you.  You will know me, by the fruit I bear.  And thus will I, too, know you.  (This poem relates to the post entitled Chapter 29: Gardens of the Rabbit Lane: Memoir page of this blog.)


A spot of soil:
a patch of earth:
a garden.
It draws me, pulls me in,
to bend and kneel,
to press my fingers into
the cool, moist, humic ground,
to lift out handfuls—
like a child
in a sandbox or the seashore surf—
and let it sift through slowly opening fingers.
I plunge again, retrieve, release.
And again.
I am overcome with wonderment.
From this seemingly inert substance
springs all leafy life,
that sustains animal life—
my life.
With sharp steel implements
I dig and hoe and till and rake,
work the soil,
giving it what strength I can with
compost and manure and care.
With innocent expectation
I place the seeds,
so small,
like lifeless gravelly grains,
in furrows and mounds,
wishing for immediate fulfillment,
but understanding that
hope requires patience, that
faith rests in an abiding stillness, that
I cannot force the course of life,
but only prepare the way,
bring together a few essential ingredients,
and allow life to live,
as it determines,
while I attempt to nourish.


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