Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ode to an Old Nurseryman

Last night the moon spoke aloud
alone I stood in fields unplowed
pocked where once I shocked roots
and bound their wounds
with burlap hide,
butterfly baskets, and two-ply rope.
In and out of cloud it drifted.
The light lit my heart uplifted
when in my days of youth
I struck the earth
with a straight edge spade
and trenched a girth from hardpan dirt.
The sycamore, the serotina
the kurumatzu and pinus strobus;
shadows across the greening glade
where I put foot to shovel blade.
There I planted rows of bare root timber
no rounder than a thumb or finger
homaged them as if fostered children
arising from a budding slumber.
Watched them grow until they reached a height
then transplanted them to a different site.
Oh, how worthy a trade it was
seedling the earth and moving conifers.
Of all the things due my regret,
not that I lost my labor spent
such worthy toil is heaven sent.
Of all the things due my regret,
I can't father the field I left
and to my children beget
the calloused hand and respect for sweat
earned by working the shovel bent.


  1. Oh my goodness is this your excellent writing? It's very lovely....the images are outstanding, as alone with dog I sit, sipping coffee and enjoying my bloogers posts in plowed fields! Thanks!

  2. I agree with Karen ... very lovely. Thanks!

    Kathy M.

  3. Very profound and ponder worthy writing. I could see you at work and hear your loss at not being able to do it any more. Blessings

  4. Deep sentiments eloquently expressed and so appropriate to the theme.

  5. is this the one you wanted posted at dverse...there are a lot fo great textures in here...esp in those opening lines in the binding...mmm...thought provoking as well...very nice write...

  6. why can't you father the field you left and to your children beget? aren't you in your very being?

    Oh, how worthy a trade it was.

    last night while driving i noticed along a drive a new row of maple just planted. a row marking the way home. a row to work against the snow. a row. a row by a strong man's hand. a row. forever a row. oh, how worthy a trade it was.


  7. This is an antithesis to "Man with the Hoe". Appreciative of heaven sent work.

  8. Very pretty poem. Your strong words lightened by the rhyme - a lovely combination. K.

  9. love the title and how you start with the moon speaking aloud...a worthy trade it is for sure to grow matter if real conifers or whatever they might stand for in our lives..

  10. hard work definitely does something to the man...and means much...there is a really nice rhythm to your piece man...and a bit of the magic of the ordinary about it as well...sow & reap

  11. I love the passion in this, and can relate, as I planted some trees in the northwest in my younger days. A very nice piece of poetry here!