Archives for posts with tag: garden

by John Ciardi

Morning glories, pale as a mist drying,
fade from the heat of the day, but already
hunchback bees in pirate pants and with peg-leg
hooks have found and are boarding them.

This could do for the sack of the imaginary
fleet. The raiders loot the galleons even as they
one by one vanish and leave still real
only what has been snatched out of the spell.

I’ve never seen bees more purposeful except
when the hive is threatened. They know
the good of it must be grabbed and hauled
before the whole feast wisps off.

They swarm in light and, fast, dive in,
then drone out, slow, their pantaloons heavy
with gold and sunlight. The line of them,
like thin smoke, wafts over the hedge.

And back again to find the fleet gone.
Well, they got this day’s good of it. Off
they cruise to what stays open longer.
Nothing green gives honey. And by now

you’d have to look twice to see more than green
where all those white sails trembled
when the world was misty and open
and the prize was there to be taken.

SOURCE: “Bees and Morning Glories” appears in John Ciardi‘s collection Person to Person (Rutgers University Press, 1964), available at

IMAGE: “Morning Glories and Bees” by Virginia. Visit the artist at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: John Ciardi (1916-1986), while primarily known as a poet, translated Dante‘s Divine Comedy, wrote several volumes of children’s poetry, pursued etymology, contributed to the Saturday Review as a columnist and long-time poetry editor, and directed the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Vermont. In 1959, Ciardi published a book on how to read, write, and teach poetry, How Does a Poem Mean?, which has proven to be among the most-used books of its kind. At the peak of his popularity in the early 1960s, Ciardi also had a network television program on CBS, Accent.

by Barbara Curtis

Let us take the time to look
Upon the lowly buttercup
Her beauty is there for all to see
She sits there very prettily
Full of golden glowing grace
A sunny smile upon her face
She feels no need to compete
With others who are more elite
She grows where others wouldn’t dare
Brightening a patch once bare.

IMAGE: “Buttercups in a sea of yellow flowers” by Joana Kruse. Prints available at

by Amy Gerstler

Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.

Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion   
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.

SOURCE: “In Perpetual Spring” appears in Amy Gerstler’s collection Bitter Angel (North Point Press, 1990).

IMAGE: “Garden in Bloom” by Vincent van Gogh (1888)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Gerstler won the 1991 National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry for Bitter Angel (1990). Her early work includes White Marriage/Recovery (1984), and her more recent works include Nerve Storm (1993), Medicine (2000), Ghost Girl (2004), and Dearest Creature (2009), which the New York Times named a Notable Book of the Year. A graduate of Pitzer College and Bennington College, Gerstler has taught at the Art Center College of Design, the University of Southern California, and the Bennington Writing Seminars program. She lives in California with her husband, the artist and author Benjamin Weissman.

by Jack Kerouac

Waiting for the leaves
to fall —
There goes one! 

paul hamilton
by Jack Kerouac

Bird bath thrashing
by itself —
Autumn wind.

Photo by Paul Hamilton.

gry thunes
by Jack Kerouac

Cool sunny autumn day,
I’ll mow the lawn
one last time

Photo by Gry Thunes.