Thursday, April 03, 2014

Clivia in a shaft of sunlight

Why I still like to garden: this called me out of the house when sun touched this flower in the late afternoon. You can also see where the hard frost touched the leaf-tips late last year. We've been in working on this garden for nearly 50 years. Some plants last, some things fail. Many years ago we used to go on the weekends to John's Nursery in Los Gatos. The aisles of live plants in gallon containers have been long since displaced by expensive housing. For me this is another sad loss: John and his wife were always willing to suggest plants and give you gardening tips. There weren't any crowds; there wasn't any rush. You could look at things and just feel them growing. John's wife (I don't think I ever knew her name, but they were Japanese American and undoubtedly were interned during World War II, since they were older than we were in the late 1960s, and both S and I remember The War quite well.)


The Polish poet lived in Berkeley (thus the fog, and the sea) for many years and also spent time in his garden.


A day so happy.
Fog lifted early. I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over the honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw blue sea and sails.

             Czeslaw Milosz (1911–2004)

March 11

Sunny and milder.

The sky a pale yellow this morning
like the skin of an onion,
and here at the center,
under layer upon layer of brooding
and ferment, a poet,
and cupped in his hands, the green shoot
of one word.
Ted Kooser, Winter Morning Walks, page 115.

The life and poetry of Ted Kooser by Mary K. Stillwell is the book I am just finishing up on my Kindle. In addition to covering the biographical part of his life, she analyses his poetry and his pracrice of revision, and especially the building of metaphorical intent throughout the poem. I am very impressed by this process. The deceptively simple results (as above) are compelling because they have been so carefully crafted, honed, arranged and selected. It makes me want to work harder, and pay more attention.

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