Oddments

In search of story


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September 17.21: Coping

September stands tall

between spring’s childhood

and winter’s dotage,

a bit round perhaps

with pumpkin paunch,

its brow gold-speckled,

but vital still.

One leaf, two leaves,

abacus of mortality,

drop

in quiet obedience

to the authority of time.

A cicada sings of ennui,

its sleepy notes sticking to

wet morning air

where August lingers.

 

 


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September 9.21: Coping

Harvest comes soon,

the greens rich and deep,

how touchable, sniffable

the twining leafed keep.

A scruffy-kneed gardener

with nails edged in black

beams notwithstanding

the crick in his back.

It’s ever a miracle —

don’t try to explain

how seeds and a longing

are linked in life’s chain.

 

 

With thanks again to my back-yard gardener son,

for both the photo op and the basil!

 

 


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September 3.21: Coping

We were green once,

in salad days,

fixed firm to umbilical vine,

slowly orange,

until, soaked in sun brine,

we plumped to red.

All as written by some sightless scribe

ordaining how life seeds,

or maybe

by some deliberate kindness

in back yard dirt

that soul and body feeds.

Gardeners wonder.

 

 

With thanks to Shakespeare

and to my firstborn, Dennis, the backyard gardener.

 


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August 24.21: Coping

Aesop says be like the ant,

eschew grasshopper ways:

the ant puts by and plans ahead,

grasshoppers waste their days.

The ants in frantic harvest

prepare for winter’s grey.

The grasshopper, all moony,

ponders the green of today;

in foolery like writing

does he his muse pursue;

he yearns to be a poet

and use words like “eschew.”

 

Many more thanks to photographer S.W. Berg.

I have no idea how he got the grasshopper to pose like this.


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August 22.21: Coping

In the time of two breaths

there’s the twilight sweet spot

when everything hovers

between color and not.

White becomes silver

as shadows unfurl,

or maybe it’s pewter

or mother-of-pearl;

reds turn to velvet

with lavender nap,

blues, cupric sulfate,

with diamond wrap.

Yellows to brass

with gold overlays,

burnished in hot coal,

smoldering blaze.

And a palette is born

each day at its end

that no words can capture

but only pretend.

 

 


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August 14.21: Coping

Does one zinnia a summer make?

This is my one and only zinnia flower. The seedlings that lived with me in the kitchen months ago, transplanted into the garden where they would be the yippee colors of summer, were almost all destroyed by the rabbits. Except for a few which I triaged into pots and then transplanted yet again, desperate for them to make a showing.

The results:

And one flower.

I plant tomatoes to remember Grandpa Mauck, moss roses to remember Grandma O’Hern, and marigolds to remember Dad. Mom is in the whole garden. So, as all gardeners know, the garden is not just expensive, it’s personal. The rabbits tried to take it all from me, and right now on this planet every loss is part of a huge rolling snowball of loss — and helplessness.

If there’s anything I hate, it’s feeling helpless. Life demands at times that we resign ourselves to it, but I can get pretty mad about that. I have lived to wage war this summer. I have potted and repotted and have fought the good fight with Irish Spring soap, rubbing it on flowerpots and shaving it around plants. And I have installed rose canes, which do seem to have some persuasive powers.

I have ultimately saved a small garden corner where my one surviving clump of gaura now thrives, the rabbit-scorned geraniums blaze away, and, in sheer defiance, some marigolds and salvia, once tattered, bloom insanely. Several of those triaged potted things have made a brilliant, if root-bound, showing.

I salute Farmer McGregor, the Grand Pooh-Bah of Rabbit Rage. I aspire to his greatness.