I could have written

This poem is one of Jim Culleny’s daily poetry emails:
Killing the Plants
Jane Kenyon
That year I discovered the virtues
of plants as companions: they don’t
argue, they don’t ask for much,
they don’t stay out until 3:00 A.M., then
lie to you about where they’ve been….
I can’t summon the ambition
to repot this grape ivy, of this sad
old cactus, or even to move them out
onto the porch for the summer,
where their lives would certainly
improve. I give them
a grudging dash of water – that’s all
they get. I wonder if they suspect
that like Hamlet I rehearse murder
all hours of the day and night,
considering the town dump
and compost pile as possible graves….

The truth is that if I permit them
to live, they will go on giving
alms to the poor: sweet air, miraculous
flowers, the example of persistence.

After I read it, for a moment I thought: “I could have written that.”
Maybe. But I didn’t.
I could have written about how my plants have always been “survival of the fittest.” Anything that withstands my haphazard care has a home for life, even the phallic piece I saved from the dead 5 foot cactus that I threw in into the woods last fall. I stuck the piece in the corner of some other pot, and the damned thing took root. Lopsided and blighted, it’s still growing.
I could have written about the avocado pit I rooted last year and actually made an effort to nurture. It’s dying now, and sometimes I see it as a mirror of my own spirit these days. The leaves dry up, one by one. Fall lightly from the grace of the sun.
I could have written about the seeds I never planted, jambed, envelope by envelope, into an old shoe box, waiting for a better planting season.
I could have written about my shoes — not only the never ending quest for the most comfortable pair of black dressy shoes, but also the compulsive buying of shoes that I probably only will wear in my fantasies.
I could have…

One thought on “I could have written

  1. Hi Elains…

    For some reason I can’t send email from here and have no patience to fuss around with it…

    I got your notes. I don’t know our plans for the next few days, but if I get in the neighborhood of the bookshop, I’ll for sure stop in to see B!x.

    I hope you are well.
    Ronni

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