Archives for posts with tag: gardens

12682024 - view of westport house seen from the lake, county mayo, ireland.
Dear Guest of Westport House & Gardens
by Roberta Beary

House tours are canceled and the cafe closed
Pandemics wax and tourists wane
Times change

Once Lords and Ladies ruled these walks supreme
They traced their blood to Grace
The Pirate Queen

A hotel dynasty now holds the deed
Times change
Pandemics wax and tourists wane

Mind where barbed wire meets old chapel ground
Sheep graze near graves of nobles
Titled Browne

Times change
Pandemics wax and tourists wane
Please take your litter with you when you leave

PHOTO: Westport House, County Mayo, Ireland, by Gabriela Insuratelu, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Westport House, a stately home in County Mayo, Ireland, was built by the Browne family, Irish peerage and descendants of Grace O’Malley, the Pirate Queen who ruled the west of Ireland in the 16th century. During the Covid-19 lockdown, when car travel was restricted, the owners of Westport House kindly opened its grounds to locals. This poem grew out of my walks among its lovely gardens.

PHOTO: The author during a visit to Westport House grounds and gardens (2020). Photo by Frank Stella. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Beary’s second collection of short poems, Carousel, is co-winner of the Snapshot Press 2019 book award contest. Her first short-form collection, The Unworn Necklace, received a finalist book award from the Poetry Society of America. Her collection of prose poetry, Deflection, was named a National Poetry Month Best Pick by Washington Independent Review of Books. A long-term editor at Modern Haiku, she lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, Frank Stella, and tweets her photoku and micro-poetry on Twitter @shortpoemz. Read more at her website or on Facebook.

Author portrait by Henry Denander

licensed giles bizet

Giverny
by Chris Precise

I was a guest in Claude Monet’s home for a dewy day. It was a beautiful oasis, tucked away in the countryside behind dripping wisteria and giggling daffodils. A woman in one of his paintings called to me in the study. She held a parasol and stood at the crest of a hill’s rolling wave of endless green, rising above it as though weightless. I almost reached my hand out to her to pull me through the canvas into the frame mounted on the wall. I imagined myself closing my eyes and dissipating into the hues of the paint to become the strokes of the brush, where I would play a larger role in the grand scheme without worrying about someone getting too close to find detail in me that I could not find in myself.

The Woman with a Parasol allures me still. On the days where I wish to melt into the background, I can see her featureless face blending into the vast blue sky behind her, telling me to come with her. Instead, I roll over in my bed and lose count of the bountiful brushstrokes that make up my body without knowing where one ends and another begins.

Light yielded itself upon Giverny as the time came to depart for home. While the countryside faded into the background, the woman in the canvas did too. Her perpetual motion up close became suspended in time as the distance between us increased on my return to Paris, and the mirage of our likeness evaporated. I am not the touches of frozen oil slowly achromatizing as the years counted themselves. I am my own Impressionist canvas, speckled with the soft colors of my survival and bearing light for harvest. I am here.

PHOTO: Water garden at Claude Monet’s home and garden in Giverny, France, by Gilles Bizet, used by permission.

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The theory of les touches in Impressionist period art, the touches of the brush on the canvas, fascinated me, the visible strokes created through the mastery of Monet, Renoir, Degas. They bent light at the whim of their brushstrokes, gods birthing new universes I so desperately wished to be a part of. Lately, I have been trying to find a sense of self: a facet of identity or defining memory that will ground me into a sense of who I am. Until that day, which may come tomorrow or 50 years from tomorrow, I will be satisfied with the process of making my own oil paint touches as I construct an image of my being.

IMAGE: “Woman with a Parasol” by Claude Monet (1886).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Chris Precise is a Black nonbinary scholar-writer-activist in the making. Hailing from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and a current student at Swarthmore College, they study Black diasporas around the globe and enjoy reading Black feminist and DuBoisian theory. Much of their narrative and creative nonfiction writing rests tucked away in tattered Moleskine journals, but they aspire to soon share more of themself and their stories with the world. For more, visit preciselychris.carrd.co.

Barn
THIRD CUTTING
by Melanie Dunbar

Four cranes rise at the back of the field,
fly as quarters of one bird,
as a flock of grackles
lands hidden in the grass.
Their wingbeats disturb the air near my neck.
This is my east thirty acres.

Fields border my fields,
in the distance the house I can see from my house is white.
Coming up from behind —
the unpainted back of the barn,

chicken coop and faded green shingles.
Near the road is the shagbark hickory
bare now except for the nuts.
Some guy cleaned out his car at the end of the drive.

The dust and hay sticks to the paste of sunblock
on my arms and face. I am encrusted in hay.
I pull bales off the baler,
stack them on the wagon.

The hay catscratches wherever it touches my skin.
It smells sweet,
meadows and clean sheets,
pillowcases left on the lilac to dry.

The tractor and wagon rock back and forth.
I sway with them,
a cowboy on a horse.
I climb to the top, spread-eagle,
a maharani riding an elephant.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We live on a working farm. We grow our own corn and hay to feed our cattle. Baling hay is often hot, dusty, and physically exhausting — but there are moments of rest, when I dream. This poem was written after baling in late August. When the wagon was full, I climbed to the top and let my mind wander.

PHOTO: “Michigan Barn” by Melanie Dunbar.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melanie Dunbar is a Master Gardener who has suddenly taken her writing seriously. She lives in Southwest Michigan with her husband and youngest son and their rooster, Mr. Beautiful. Her poetry is forthcoming in Your Impossible Voice.

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JAPANESE GARDEN

by Clara Hsu

arched

sky                 water

bridge

half moon

June

slips

by

in a pair of geta

koi in red kimonos

things to wear

under

shades

a

bell

IMAGE: “Water Lilies and Koi Pond” by Elaine Plesser. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Clara Hsu practices the art of multi-dimensional being: mother, musician, purveyor of Clarion Music Center (1982-2005), traveler, translator and poet. Since 2009, she has co-hosted the monthly San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show with John Rhodes. In 2013, she co-founded Poetry Hotel Press with Jack Foley. Clara has been published internationally. Her book of poetry, The First to Escape, is due to be released in the summer of 2014.

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AH! SUN-FLOWER
by William Blake

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

IMAGE: “Sunflower” by Georgia O’Keeffe (1935).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. For the most part unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered one of the greatest poets of all time in any language. As a visual artist, he has been lauded by one art critic as “far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced.” (Source: Wikipedia)

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CORN MAZE
by David Barber

Here is where
You can get nowhere
Faster than ever
As you go under
Deeper and deeper

In the fertile smother
Of another acre
Like any other
You can’t peer over
And then another

And everywhere
You veer or hare
There you are
Farther and farther
Afield than before

But on you blunder
In the verdant meander
As if   the answer
To looking for cover
Were to bewilder

Your inner minotaur
And near and far were
Neither here nor there
And where you are
Is where you were

SOURCE: Poetry (March 2013).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Barber is the poetry editor at The Atlantic. His first book The Spirit Level (Northwestern, 1995) was published as a winner of the Terrence Des Pres Prize. Barber’s poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Field, Georgia Review, The New England Review, The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry, and Virginia Quarterly Review. His reviews and articles have appeared in The Boston Globe, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The New Criterion, Parnassus, and elsewhere. He lives near Boston. His most recent poetry collection is Wonder Cabinet (Northwestern University Press, 2006), available at Amazon.com.

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How beautiful – 
     Red peppers
            After the autumn gale.
                                                   YOSA BUSON

PHOTO: Len McAlpine, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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SUMMER HAIKU by Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694)

Along the mountain road

somehow it tugs at my heart —

a wild violet

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WATERMELONS
by Charles Simic

Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles Simic (born May 9, 1938), a Serbian-American poet, was co-poetry editor of the Paris Review. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1990 for The World Doesn’t End, and was a finalist of the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 for Selected Poems, 1963-1983 and in 1987 for Unending Blues. He was appointed the fifteenth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 2007. (Read more at wikipedia.org.)

“Watermelons” is found in Charles Simic’s poetry collection Return to a Place Lit by a Glass of Milk (George Braziller, 1974), ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. The book is available at Amazon.com.

Photo: “Watermelons at Julia’s Fruit Stand” (Los Molinos, CA) by Michelle Hickock, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Today we honor Frida Kahlo, the groundbreaking artist who was born on a summer day (July 6, 1907) and passed away on a summer day (July 13, 1954). Like her husband, the celebrated painter Diego Rivera (1886-1957), the subject of Kahlo’s last painting was the watermelon — the essence of all things summer. We raise a slice of summer to Frida and Diego — and thank them for their sublime art. Kahlo’s last painting includes the phrase “Viva La Vida” — long live life — as exemplified by the wonders of the watermelon.

When one has tasted watermelon, he knows what the angels eat.” MARK TWAIN

For the curious, Diego Rivera‘s last painting is featured below.

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