Saturday, February 7, 2009

Remembering Gardens

I painted this watercolor during a period of snowy days. The temperatures dipped and spring seemed far away. It had to get through snow drifts, melting ice, and frigid cold.

Lowell, Massachusetts
The Revolving Art Museum

I like her muddy feet, stained dark
and crusted with soil. She’s the museum gardener.
To her right a man’s face of serpentined tree limbs
emerges from the earth and stares over
a wrought iron fence. His eyes,
a nest woven over a metal frame,
watch the cobblestone street
while the garden takes shape.
She sits on a bench and tells me
how she loves pruning, hard pruning-
and then she points to a Victorian garden
across the street, I want, she says, to go in there
and clean it up. I stare at the garden
where anarchy exists.

Lubek, Maine
The Cottage Garden

Eight years ago they bought a small cottage
on an acre of land, a wooded parcel on a hill.
She knows plants, their needs, desires.
Mosses and ferns overlap garden stonework,
colors ignite in the sunspots.
At the top of her hill she’s cut down trees
for an oriental garden. A suspended screen
of birch tree branches, witnesses inscrutable silence.
A visitor may rake a flat spread of white sand. I draw
a fishnet pattern, quietly replace the rake.

She rides a tractor across the road
to where the land flattens
and mows swathes of grass.
When she is motionless, I tell her how wonderful
to see a ‘crazy quilt’ of flowers, then lily pads in pious silence.
She hesitates. Then says, If I see a plant I love, Ibuy it,
and then find a place to root it down.

Maynard, Massachusetts
Conservation Land

First, the plot on the corner had old swings
and a rusted slide cemented into callused soil.
Then the town uprooted the metal and wood,
bulldozed the land and planted grass. The grass grew.
Several winters of cold space passed.
Yesterday, a woman planted a lilac bush. I watched
her flavor the digging with sweat.


1 comment:

  1. The poem's specificity takes me directly to each garden.