Poem for Tuesday


Gustave Caillebotte’s Garten in Trouville. Image from here. From the collection of Caillebotte paintings at the Wallraf- Richartz Museum and Foundation in Cologne.


The old Dutch woman would spend half a day
Pacing the backyard where I lived
in a fixed-up shed
What did she see.
Wet leaves, the rotten tilted-over
over-heavy heads
Of domesticated flowers.
I knew Indian Paintbrush
Thought nature meant mountains,
Snowfields, glaciers and cliffs,
White granite waves underfoot.

Heian ladies
Trained to the world of the garden,
lovers slippt in with at night—

My grandmother standing wordless
fifteen minutes
Between rows of loganberries,
clippers poised in her hand.

New leaves on the climbing rose
Planted last fall.
–tiny bugs eating the green—

Like once watching
Far over a valley
Half into the
shade of the headwall,
Pick their way over the snow.

from The Back Country by Gary Snyder


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