The Gardener

Derbas, R., 2010

Derbas, R., 2010

Where others see nothing

He sees row upon row of green

Carrot tops, butter lettuce, spring onions

Early bitterness that time and frost make sweet

He will not pour dirt upon her

He will not bury or lose them

Give up or bend, say the voices

I am a gardener, is his only answer.

He believes in mixes and blends

Of sunlight and shadow

Hard work and patience

The right amount of burning heat and cooling water.

Impossibility, neglect, darkness

These are not part of his garden:

Too easy to be tired, he says,

Too easy to be weak.

Where ant and grub multiply

Poison yields to something nobler

Patches of eggplant, crisp bell peppers, beefsteak tomatoes

Robust, living, red.

Derbas, R., 2010

Derbas, R., 2010

Cancer comes in summer

A pestilence ever ready to lay waste

To thriving row and carefully tended patch

Drying out harvest; spreading its famine.

Give up or bend, say the voices

Nothing left but valley stone and chemical dirt

Broken signs of living; weary hands, human feet.

In spite of this, he smiles,

Shovel and boots ever ready

What is most beautiful is difficult –

And a gardener 

is what I am.