Guest Feature by John Wynn-Jones:
The Garden

Dr John Wynn-Jones is well known in WONCA circles and immediate past chair of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice. During the COVID-19 crisis he has been writing a 'Rural Miscellany' email with poems and resource ideas to help and divert us in this difficult time. In this, the second item of 2021, we publish "The Garden" - written by John this month.

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” Cicero

“The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul.” Sir Thomas More

“We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest”. Voltaire

“To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour” William Blake

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” Victor Hugo

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust” Gertrude Jekyll

“You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot keep spring from coming” Pablo Neruda “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them” A.A Milne

The Garden

The English philosopher and statesman Sir Thomas More said that ”the many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry, of painting and music, of religion and architecture, all make the point as clear as possible: The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden. If you don't want paradise, you are not human; and if you are not human, you don't have a soul.”

I have just spent a productive weekend, working in my own garden. Spring is tantalisingly beginning to reveal itself in the new buds and early flowers everywhere. After so much time spent in lockdown over the last 12 months, one begins to appreciate the private, psychological and personal space that your garden occupies.

The garden is such a force that revitalises and restores the spirit. Our gardens reflect the seasons, our moods and our loves & desires. They are an open book to our inner beings.

The French philosopher, Voltaire said of gardens “We must cultivate our own garden. When man was put in the garden of Eden he was put there so that he should work, which proves that man was not born to rest”. Gardens are not just about sitting in the sun or the shade, they need constant maintenance and attention. Above all, working in our gardens can be the best therapeutic exercises that we can undertake at any time.

I have collected an array of poems dedicated to the garden and to gardening. They explore the peace, beauty, toil and trials associated with the garden through time. This post is dedicated to all you gardeners and would-be gardeners out there.


Andrew Marvell (1621-1678)

Andrew Marvell was an English Metaphysical poet, satirist and politician whose political reputation overshadowed that of his poetry until the 20th century. He is now considered to be one of the best Metaphysical poets. He sat in the House of Commons at various times between 1659 and 1678. During the Commonwealth period he was a colleague and friend of John Milton.

He spent his boyhood in the Yorkshire town of Hull, where his father, a clergyman of Calvinist inclination, was appointed lecturer at Holy Trinity Church and master of the Charterhouse when the poet was three years old. At the age of 13, Marvell attended Trinity College, Cambridge and eventually received a BA degree. From the middle of 1642 onwards, Marvell probably travelled in continental Europe. He may well have served as a tutor for an aristocrat on the Grand Tour, but the facts are not clear on this point. While England was embroiled in the civil war, Marvell seems to have remained on the continent. His poems range from the love-songs, to evocations of  aristocratic country houses & gardens and political satire. Although earlier opposed to Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth government, he wrote “An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland” (1650), and from 1653 to 1657 he was a tutor to Cromwell’s ward William Dutton. In 1657 he became assistant to John Milton as Latin secretary in the foreign office. 

After the restoration of Charles II in 1660, Marvell turned to political verse satires. Marvell is also said to have interceded on behalf of Milton to have him freed from prison in 1660. His political writings favoured the toleration of religious dissent and attacked the abuse of monarchical power.

"The Garden" is one of the most famous English poems of the seventeenth century. It takes the form of a meditation in a garden. Some have interpreted it t as a response to the original biblical garden, Eden, while other commentators have understood the poem as a meditation about sex, political ambition, and various other themes. Its celebrated lines about ‘Annihilating all that’s made / To a green thought in a green shade’ are especially memorable.

Marvell depicts the garden as a retreat, as a place of repose and restfulness – an escape from the more frenetic world of public life that lies beyond the boundaries of the garden. We’ve probably all dreamed of chucking it all in and retreating to some quiet and tranquil place where our soul or mind will know some rest. When our passions have run their course, love can blossom in the space of the garden.

The Garden

How vainly men themselves amaze 
To win the palm, the oak, or bays, 
And their uncessant labours see 
Crown’d from some single herb or tree, 
Whose short and narrow verged shade 
Does prudently their toils upbraid; 
While all flow’rs and all trees do close 
To weave the garlands of repose. 

Fair Quiet, have I found thee here, 
And Innocence, thy sister dear! 
Mistaken long, I sought you then 
In busy companies of men; 
Your sacred plants, if here below, 
Only among the plants will grow. 
Society is all but rude, 
To this delicious solitude. 

No white nor red was ever seen 
So am’rous as this lovely green. 
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame, 
Cut in these trees their mistress’ name; 
Little, alas, they know or heed 
How far these beauties hers exceed! 
Fair trees! wheres’e’er your barks I wound, 
No name shall but your own be found. 

When we have run our passion’s heat, 
Love hither makes his best retreat. 
The gods, that mortal beauty chase, 
Still in a tree did end their race: 
Apollo hunted Daphne so, 
Only that she might laurel grow; 
And Pan did after Syrinx speed, 
Not as a nymph, but for a reed. 

What wond’rous life in this I lead! 
Ripe apples drop about my head; 
The luscious clusters of the vine 
Upon my mouth do crush their wine; 
The nectarine and curious peach 
Into my hands themselves do reach; 
Stumbling on melons as I pass, 
Ensnar’d with flow’rs, I fall on grass. 

Meanwhile the mind, from pleasure less, 
Withdraws into its happiness; 
The mind, that ocean where each kind 
Does straight its own resemblance find, 
Yet it creates, transcending these, 
Far other worlds, and other seas; 
Annihilating all that’s made 
To a green thought in a green shade. 

Here at the fountain’s sliding foot, 
Or at some fruit tree’s mossy root, 
Casting the body’s vest aside, 
My soul into the boughs does glide; 
There like a bird it sits and sings, 
Then whets, and combs its silver wings; 
And, till prepar’d for longer flight, 
Waves in its plumes the various light. 

Such was that happy garden-state, 
While man there walk’d without a mate; 
After a place so pure and sweet, 
What other help could yet be meet! 
But ’twas beyond a mortal’s share 
To wander solitary there: 
Two paradises ’twere in one 
To live in paradise alone. 

How well the skillful gard’ner drew 
Of flow’rs and herbs this dial new, 
Where from above the milder sun 
Does through a fragrant zodiac run; 
And as it works, th’ industrious bee 
Computes its time as well as we. 
How could such sweet and wholesome hours 
Be reckon’d but with herbs and flow’rs!

The Garden by Andrew Marvell


William Blake (1757-1827)

William Blake was an English poet, painter, visionary and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. We have come across his poetry on many occasions and hence I refrain for further introduction.

Blakes tell us that he goes into the “Garden of Love” where he used to play as a child. He finds a chapel built on the spot where he once played. The gates of the chapel are shut, and commandments and prohibitions are written over the door. The garden has become a graveyard, its flowers replaced by tombstones. The garden is an allegorical image of liberty, in the shape of a garden being crushed and turned into a world of death and restriction. It also alludes to the garden of Eden and what was lost when Adam and Eve gave in to temptation. Blake disliked organised religion and the chapel represents the organised religion that he hated the most.

The Garden of Love

I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A Chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,
And Thou shalt not writ over the door;
So I turn’d to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.

And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be:
And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars, my joys & desires.

 The Garden of Love" William Blake

Sara Coleridge (1802-1852)

Sara Coleridge was an English author and translator. She was the third child out of four and only daughter of the romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife Sara Fricker. She gained popularity with instructive verses for children.

During her childhood, her father was seldom at home, and his brother-in-law Robert Southey influenced Sara’s early years. She did not see her father from 1812 to 1822, when she visited him at Highgate with her mother. Thereafter his influence was strikingly evident. In 1829 she married her cousin, Henry Nelson Coleridge. For her children she wrote Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children (1834) and Phantasmion(1837), a fairy story with some delightful lyrics. When her husband died in 1843, she took up his unfinished task of editing her father’s works and also made several contributions to Coleridgean studies.

“The Garden Year” tells us that our gardens reflect every season and every month of the year. There is always something to do.

The Garden Year

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

February brings the rain,
Thaws the frozen lake again.

March brings breezes, loud and shrill,
To stir the dancing daffodil.

April brings the primrose sweet,
Scatters daisies at our feet.

May brings flocks of pretty lambs
Skipping by their fleecy dams.

June brings tulips, lilies, roses,
Fills the children’s hands with posies.

Hot July brings cooling showers,
Apricots, and gillyflowers.

August brings the sheaves of corn,
Then the harvest home is borne.

Warm September brings the fruit;
Sportsmen then begin to shoot.

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

Dull November brings the blast;
Then the leaves are whirling fast.

Chill December brings the sleet,
Blazing fire, and Christmas treat.
The Garden Year: Sara Coleridge


Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime. Born in County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Elizabeth Barrett wrote poetry from the age of eleven.

The Barrett family were part Creole and had lived in Jamaica, where they owned sugar plantations and relied on slave labour. Elizabeth's father, Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, chose to raise his family in England, while his fortune grew in Jamaica. Educated at home, Elizabeth apparently had read passages from Paradise Lost and a number of Shakespearean plays, before the age of ten. By her twelfth year, she had written her first "epic" poem, which consisted of four books of rhyming couplets. Two years later, Elizabeth developed a lung ailment that plagued her for the rest of her life. Doctors began treating her with morphine, which she would take until her death. While saddling a pony when she was fifteen, Elizabeth also suffered a spinal injury. Despite her ailments, her education continued to flourish. Throughout her teenage years, Elizabeth taught herself Hebrew so that she could read the Old Testament; her interests later turned to Greek studies. The abolition of slavery in England and mismanagement of the plantations depleted the Barretts's income, and in 1832, Elizabeth's father sold his rural home, finally settling permanently in London.

Gaining attention for her work in the 1830s, Elizabeth continued to live in her father's London house under his tyrannical rule. He began sending Elizabeth's younger siblings to Jamaica to help with the family's estates. Elizabeth bitterly opposed slavery and did not want her siblings sent away. While staying by the coast to improve her health, her brother Edward drowned, and this had a profound impact on her becoming an invalid and a recluse. She spent the next five years in her bedroom at her father's home. She continued writing and her 1844 collection, entitled Poems gained the attention of poet Robert Browning, whose work Elizabeth had praised in one of her poems, and he wrote her a letter.

Elizabeth and Robert, who was six years her junior, exchanged 574 letters over the next twenty months. Immortalized in 1930 in the play The Barretts of Wimpole Street, by Rudolf Besier, their romance was bitterly opposed by her father, who did not want any of his children to marry. In 1846, the couple eloped and settled in Florence, Italy, where Elizabeth's health improved, and she bore a son. Her father never spoke to her again.

This poem, one of Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese” (1850), was written about her love for her husband, Robert, describing how her beloved brought her flowers plucked in the garden, as tokens of his affection.

The poem is about her courtship and eventual marriage to Robert Browning whom she instructs to accept her gifts (her thoughts) which, like the flowers in the garden, have grown within her and under his care ‘shall not pine’.

Sonnets from the Portuguese 44: Beloved, thou has brought me many flowers

Beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers 
Plucked in the garden, all the summer through 
And winter, and it seemed as if they grew 
In this close room, nor missed the sun and showers, 
So, in the like name of that love of ours, 
Take back these thoughts which here unfolded too, 
And which on warm and cold days I withdrew 
From my heart’s ground. Indeed, those beds and bowers 
Be overgrown with bitter weeds and rue, 
And wait thy weeding; yet here’s eglantine, 
Here’s ivy!— take them, as I used to do 
Thy flowers, and keep them where they shall not pine. 
Instruct thine eyes to keep their colours true, 
And tell thy soul, their roots are left in mine. 

Sonnets from the Portuguese (Beloved, thou hast brought me many flowers)


Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was an English poet often regarded as the chief representative of the Victorian age in poetry. He was the Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria's reign and remains one of the most popular British poets. Although decried by some critics as overly sentimental, his verse soon proved popular and brought Tennyson to the attention of well-known writers of the day, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Tennyson's early poetry, with its medievalism and powerful visual imagery, was a major influence on the painters of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

“Come into the garden, Maud” is probably the most famous garden poem in the English language. The poem describes a lover's wait for his lady love at the end of a ball. ... He speaks to the lilies and roses, describes the beauty and enigma of the lady love. Throughout the poem, the learnt imagery and the sensuality makes the poem even more appealing

Come into the Garden Maud became a popular Victorian parlour song. The publisher John Boosey selected tactfully from Tennyson's lengthy poem (1855) and sent the verses to the composer Balfe, who composed this song for the celebrated tenor Sims Reeves.

Come into the garden, Maud

Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone ;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.
For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon ;
All night has the casement jessamine stirred
To the dancers dancing in tune ;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

I said to the lily, ‘There is but one
With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone ?
She is weary of dance and play.’
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
And half to the rising day ;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.
I said to the rose, ‘The brief night goes
In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine ?
But mine, but mine,’ so I sware to the rose,
For ever and ever, mine.’

And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clashed in the hall;
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all;
From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.

The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree ;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea ;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sighed for the dawn and thee.

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries She is near, she is near;’
And the white rose weeps, ‘She is late;’
The larkspur listens, ‘I hear, I hear;’
And the lily whispers, ‘I wait.’

She is coming, my own, my sweet,
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed ;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead ;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.

"Maud"/"Come into the garden, Maud" by Alfred Tennyson (read by Richard Armitage)


Come Into the Garden, Maud: Sung by John McCormack

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Little known during her life, she has since been regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts into a prominent family with strong ties to its community. Once more Emily Dickinson has a poem to illustrate our current theme.

Few people knew of Emily Dickinson during her lifetime as most of her poetry was published posthumously. She was a keen gardener and probably known more for her gardening achievements  than her writing during her life. The poem describes the seasons rolling on in the garden and new generations entering and caring for it. Children play on the green, but the dead are buried below. The seasons move on, but spring always heralds once more a new birth and a new beginning.

New Feet Within My Garden Go

New feet within my garden go –
New fingers stir the sod –
A Troubadour upon the Elm
Betrays the solitude.

New children play upon the green –
New Weary sleep below –
And still the pensive Spring returns –
And still the punctual snow!

New Feet Within My Garden Go by Emily Dickinson


Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He was born in India, which inspired much of his work. Kipling's works of fiction include The Jungle Book, Kim, and many short stories, including "The Man Who Would Be King"

He is one of the best-known of the late Victorian poets and story-tellers. Although he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907, his political views, which grew more toxic as he aged, have long made him critically unpopular. In the New Yorker, Charles McGrath remarked “Kipling has been variously labelled a colonialist, a jingoist, a racist, an anti-Semite, a misogynist, a right-wing imperialist warmonger; and—though some scholars have argued that his views were more complicated than he is given credit for—to some degree he really was all those things. That he was also a prodigiously gifted writer who created works of inarguable greatness hardly matters anymore, at least not in many classrooms, where Kipling remains politically toxic.” However, Kipling’s works for children, above all his novel The Jungle Book, first published in 1894, remain part of popular cultural through the many film versions made and remade since the 1960s.

Kipling was born in Bombay (Mumbai), India, in 1865 and he spent the first years of his life in India, remembering it in later years as almost a paradise. “My first impression,” he wrote in his posthumously published autobiography “Something of Myself for My Friends Known and Unknown”, “is of daybreak, light and colour and golden and purple fruits at the level of my shoulder.” In 1871, however, his parents sent him and his sister Beatrice to England, partly to avoid health problems, but also so that the children could begin their schooling.Since his parents could not afford to send him to one of the major English universities, in 1882 Kipling left for India to rejoin his family and to begin a career as a journalist. For five years he held the post of assistant editor of the Civil and Military Gazette at Lahore. During those years he also published the stories that became Plain Tales from the Hills, works based on British lives in the resort town of Simla, and Departmental Ditties, his first major collection of poems. He later moved south in India until 1889, when he left India to return to England, determined to pursue his future as a writer.

“The Glory of the Garden” is about the English garden. He starts with the lines, “Our England is a garden that is full of stately views, of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues” but gardens are not just about views and sitting in the shade. They are about hard work, and it is the hard work of gardeners that makes every garden. He extols the virtue of that hard work and implores us to take part in the management of your gardens. Of course, the poem is allegorical and refers to life in general and the importance of the hard work needed for success

The Glory of the Garden

OUR England is a garden that is full of stately views,
Of borders, beds and shrubberies and lawns and avenues,
With statues on the terraces and peacocks strutting by;
But the Glory of the Garden lies in more than meets the eye. 

For where the old thick laurels grow, along the thin red wall,
You'll find the tool- and potting-sheds which are the heart of all
The cold-frames and the hot-houses, the dung-pits and the tanks,
The rollers, carts, and drain-pipes, with the barrows and the planks.

And there you'll see the gardeners, the men and 'prentice boys
Told off to do as they are bid and do it without noise ;
For, except when seeds are planted and we shout to scare the birds,
The Glory of the Garden it abideth not in words.

And some can pot begonias and some can bud a rose,
And some are hardly fit to trust with anything that grows ;
But they can roll and trim the lawns and sift the sand and loam,
For the Glory of the Garden occupieth all who come.

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:-" Oh, how beautiful," and sitting in the shade
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives.

There's not a pair of legs so thin, there's not a head so thick,
There's not a hand so weak and white, nor yet a heart so sick
But it can find some needful job that's crying to be done,
For the Glory of the Garden glorifieth every one.

Then seek your job with thankfulness and work till further orders,
If it's only netting strawberries or killing slugs on borders;
And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.

Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray 
For the Glory of the Garden that it may not pass away!
And the Glory of the Garden it shall never pass away ! 

The Glory of the Garden by Rudyard Kipling read by Charles Robert


Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Robert Lee Frost was an American poet. His work was initially published in England before it was published in the United States. He was born in San Francisco but moved to New England when his father died. His ancestors came from New England and he became famous for his poetry’s engagement with New England people, places, identities, and themes. He was honoured frequently during his lifetime and is the only poet to receive four Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry. He became one of America's most well-known literary figures. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960 for his poetic works. On July 22, 1961, Frost was named poet laureate of Vermont.

Lodged is one of his shortest poems. It describes the impact of the rain and the wind on his garden and on his flowers and how they survive all that the inclement weather thrown at them. He links the analogy to himself and how you must be patient and lie low in adversary until the crisis settles.


The rain to the wind said,
'You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.

Lodged by Robert Frost


Sophia Joy

I can’t find out much about Sophia Joy. I did find this quote of hers about the poem:

“After the death of my sister, I used to dwell in my garden for hours and little did I know how much it had to offer. There is always time to reflect in our beautiful surroundings. Most of life's beautiful secrets are in your back garden where there are no material objects, where only peace and love exists.”

Perhaps most of us have a secret garden or a secret place where we can sit, ponder and meditate on our lives. The poet finishes with the lines: “I think I've found the place where my mind will willingly take me back forever with just one desirable wish. A place where sleep exists without weeping. A place where the trees are welcoming with their scent of pine. This place is the secret garden of mine.”

This Secret Garden

The river that exists in my back garden was all but untouched 
by the tips of my toes in the middle of summer.
Days and days went by where nothing but beads of sweat 
were drawn from the moisture 
in the vacant, dusty, long days and endless nights.

Sitting on boulders in the middle of a crystal river, 
complaisantly singing about life 
and all the sweet nothings it comprises of,
Sweet nothings that mean nothing sweet to anyone else.

The water intrudes the spaces in-between my toes 
and washes away the afternoon game of adventure seeker, 
pleasure seeker and the earth's own secret keeper.
Everything surrounding me is green and lush and full of life 
and mystical wonder and elegant and outstretching arms.

My lyrical recitation of the place was sober and sere.
My words, they do not linger long, they don't linger here,
For they are carried out in song into the auburn sunset 
that catches fire through the tangled trees of this secret garden of mine.

I think I've found the place where my mind will willingly take me back
forever with just one desirable wish.
A place where sleep exists without weeping.
A place where the trees are welcoming with their scent of pine.
This place is the secret garden of mine.

Katherine Riegel

Katherine Riegel is the author of two poetry collections, What the Mouth Was Made For (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and Castaway (FutureCycle Press, 2010). She is the cofounder and poetry editor of “Sweet: A Literary Confection”

She describes herself on Linkedin as “ I'm a poet and writer who has taught writing at colleges and universities for over 20 years. I've published two full length books of my own poems, with a third forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing, and a chapbook of prose poems. I’m the editor of Sweet Lit, an online literary magazine, and I am part of a collective of women writers who blog at The Gloria Sirens ( I am a writer and teacher, offering online classes in poetry and creative nonfiction.”

Dreaming of your garden and what you want to plant is like revisiting that kaleidoscope of memories that you bring with you through your life. Your garden, not only becomes a calm, quite place to meditate but a tapestry of your life, its struggles and joy. A lovely peaceful poem.

What I would like to grow in my garden

Peonies, heavy and pink as ’80s bridesmaid dresses
and scented just the same. Sweet pea,
because I like clashing smells and the car
I drove in college was named that: a pea-green
Datsun with a tendency to backfire.
Sugar snap peas, which I might as well
call memory bites for how they taste like
being fourteen and still mourning the horse farm
I had been uprooted from at ten.
Also: sage, mint, and thyme—the clocks
of summer—and watermelon and blue lobelia.
Lavender for the bees and because I hate
all fake lavender smells. Tomatoes to cut
and place on toasted bread for BLTs, with or without
the b and the l. I’d like, too, to plant
the sweet alyssum that smells like honey and peace,
and for it to bloom even when it’s hot,
and also lilies, so I have something left
to look at when the rabbits come.
They always come. They are
always hungry. And I think I am done
protecting one sweet thing from another.