Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Father's Garden

My father’s garden
Bears no resemblance
To the orderly paradises
Pictured in glossy
Garden magazines

There are no tidy borders to admire
No coordinating color palettes
Here the eye is overtaken
By a mass of unapologetic green
Olive green, forest green,
Lemon green, green, green

And sprinkled throughout this verdor
Calling attentions to
Their resplendent selves
Are flowers
Of many hues and shapes

The mallows, my father’s favorites
Offer blooms as big as birds’ nests
Petals glistening in the midday sun
Spread far and wide
There is little modesty in their display

There is no coyness in this garden
Only abundance and overflow
Zinnias grow by the dozen
Battalions of cheery faces
Making themselves at home

Then there are roses, roses, roses
Yellow, salmon, red
Planted in no particular order
Just a thing about possessing
A need to hold beauty in one place

Bougainvilleas, trumpet flowers
Lion paws and all the rest
A pulsing profusion
Planted all, one by one
With his trembling hands

Each leaf
A coming to terms with lost ideals
Each flower
A testament to fallen friends
Each new seedling
A saying good-bye to old nightmares
To persecutions of the heart

Twenty years in exile
Is a long time to contemplate
My father’s garden
Is a nascent eden
A rooting back
To his native land.

Published in Good News / Spring 2005