Ode for Stanley in His Garden

van Gogh irises

some of Vincent van Gogh’s irises

It’s early for irises, Stanley. But today

daffodils are shouting yellow and white calls

to me from my garden, “Come outside!

Leave that poem for tonight! Touch blooms!”

Maybe it was you, Stanley, calling me.


still life


At the garden edges, the volunteer seedlings

grow on their own despite my human

weeding deliberations at order, symmetry and control.

Thankfully not reliably identical to their parents.

Volunteers try modestly to change the world.


Lychnis coronaria Rose Campion


Some keep the Sabbath going to Church

but you spend this Sunday with me,

on the October garden bench reading poems

from your small hand-sewn fascicles, never published,

but for here and now, where God

preaches and the sermon is never long.


reading garden

This poem recalls – and borrows lines – from Emily Dickinson, whose poems I was reading this morning.

Emily Dickinson, poet of the interior life, poems,written quietly in a room of her own, often hand-stitched in small volumes, then hidden in a drawer,  died without fame, only a few poems were published in her lifetime, then published with words altered by editors or publishers according to the fashion of the day.

The volume I’m reading, The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, has 1,789 poems with Dickinson’s spelling, punctuation, and capitalization intact.