Nationally, it has been poetry month, but personally, it has been gardening month (with plenty of gravel schlepping!). In the realm of poetry, my collection Hope of Stones was nominated as a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards. I wait to hear the results. In the realm of gardening, I planted seeds. I wait to see the results.
I’ve always honored the timeless metaphor of a garden, but it’s one thing to write about it. It’s another to prepare the soil and plant the physical seeds.
Since I’ve spent far more time with a shovel than a pen this month, I thought I’d pull out a poem from Hope of Stones. Unlike the opening line, it is still the “month of April & maybes.” So much waiting. And even more than the results of the book awards, I am excited to see what this coming harvest season will bring.
The more I wonder, the more I love.—Alice Walker
It is no longer the month of April & maybes.
It’s October & root vegetables—the soil-
pulled concretions of harvest. What we seeded
in spring has grown up & down & waits
for us to lift it from the skin of earth.
How silent prayer was revelation & heresy.
The clouds roll in. The leaves redden.
The cat’s coat thickens. We gather
the tangible close & prepare for cold.
How physics is the science of prayer.
One friend is dying. Another is trying to love
someone who doesn’t love her back.
I visit the first friend, & we sit on his deck
watching tractors in the adjacent forest dig
foundations for new houses he will never see.
I visit the other friend & notice the old
potatoes she keeps on a shelf. They’ve
shriveled a bit but have new eyes—new shoots
already looking for somewhere else to grow.
How a perennial can inspire prayer.