Wedge Acres
by John Charles Ryan

in the long claggy days
of summer my father
cleared oaks and pines
from the triangle of sand
that on a shellacked sign
under the front lamppost
he named Wedge Acres

sweat and dust caked his dark
blue dungarees as he wrestled
into Archimedean alignments
a series of pulleys and winches

I sat on the splintering
rim of a newly cut stump,
its concentric twirls burnished
by the hot steel blade—
time-rings gnashed
into a sawdust pile,

cerise with chain grease.

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My poetry explores human-botanical relationships through the possibility of plants having an innate form of intelligence. My writing also aims to reveal the ways in which human beings mind plants through acts of caring, attachment, and affection. The idea of “the intelligent plant” has enjoyed a revival of late in popular culture. The co-authoring of poetry with plants—and with non-human beings more generally—presents exciting possibilities for better understanding and appreciating the natural world. Viewing poetry as medium of exchange between intelligent beings, I continue to probe the question of collaboration with nature through writing techniques based on sensory immersion and memory provocation. “Wedge Acres” is an outcome of this poetic interest in how plants mediate human recollection.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Charles Ryan is a writer of poetry, nonfiction, and research with an interest in plants, fungi, lichens, and human-nature relationships. Between 2008–20, he lived in Western Australia and New South Wales. His recent work includes the poetry collection Seeing Trees: A Poetic Arboretum (with G. Phillips) and the prose anthology The Mind of Plants: Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence (with P. Vieira and M. Gagliano). In May–June 2022, he was Interdisciplinary Writer-in-Residence at Oak Spring Garden Foundation in the United States. He is also an adjunct associate professor at Southern Cross University, Australia, and adjunct senior research fellow at the Nulungu Institute, Notre Dame University, Australia.