Monday, July 20, 2020

Garden Truths

Today, I am following a prompt from Ethical ELA's July Open/Write, five days of poetry writing with other Teacher/Writers. The inspiration is to write an ghazal - which was totally new to me:

The ghazal is a Persian poem that is a chain of between 5-15 couplets which can be read as independent poems with a refrain of 1-3 words that repeat. In the traditional form, the word before the refrain would rhyme in each following couplet.The refrain is repeated in the second line of each couplet. Each couplet should be about the same length. Topics often include loss,religion, longing, or romantic love. 

Yesterday's thinking about digging in the garden led to this poem:

Garden Truths


Restoration of the garden while enduring heat so stark

Wallowing in dirt’s coolness and the illuminating dark


Loam, clay, mud, silt, sand, there are so many types of soil

Microscopic life within the illuminating dark


Uprooting noxious weeds hiding deep within

Growing fiercely during the illuminating dark


Weeds can halt erosion, some flowers a nuisance spread,

It’s not just one or the other, declares the illuminating dark


What we have is fragile, tender, strong, and possible,

We hold life between our fingers in the illuminating dark

Here are the comments I received on Ethical ELA:

Anna Roseboro

Maureen, your poem could be both a literal and metaphoric description of what many are experiencing and doing during this pandemic. Some of us are participating in written and oral conversations that are unearthing long-held beliefs, teachings, and policies that we are learning may be the cause of some of the social unrest that is spawning the protests and the responses to the pandemic.

Others are tending the new insight we’re gaining and new friendships we’re making knowing that both need tender care to grown and become productive agents for positive change. We each hope we’re planting new seeds of truth that will feed the minds of those with whom we interact in ways that show compassion, respect, and forgiveness whether or not either is extended to us.

Thanks for the beauty of your poem and the challenge of your message.


Oh my science teacher soul is made so happy by stanza 2…
Gardens are such a rich place for reflection. You captured your thoughts using beautiful words and images.

Mo Daley

What a perfect oxymoron to write about! I read your poem as a call to harken back to simpler times. Interacting with nature has been a lifeline for me during the pandemic. I think friends sometimes tire of me talking about flowers, birds, or trails, but those things are helping me find peace. Thank you for your beautiful words.

Tracie McCormick

Maureen, the layered meaning of these lines,

“What we have is fragile, tender, strong, and possible,
We hold life between our fingers in the illuminating dark.”

is intense! So much to contemplate! So discussable!

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