The Gardeners

My father was a remarkable gardener. Thousands of flowers and vegetables. He dug up and brought in every gladiolus bulb and in the basement laid them on abandoned window screens. This week I brought home our first glads of the season from our farmers market. “Pop-Pop” would smile.

It just struck me, the word “glads.” That’s what we likely can best summon up at this long time — a bunch of daily “glads.”

Here’s one: “The Fourth Annual Reading at The Red Dock.”

On Tuesday, August 8,  Thomas Lynch will join me on the dock. We’ll get the reading underway around 6pm with live music leading us before that. Consider bringing a chair! And once the dock is full, it’s full. So early birds get the words.

The Gardeners

In the spring, she
drops the seeds, he
covers them. He
digs up the weeds.
She cuts the flowers.
She takes the blooms
and puts them in
every room. They soar
red from the tables, sprout
yellow from the shelves,
hang purple from
the ceiling, blue
from the edges of
lampshades. Clusters
of flowers sit in
tiny pots on every
window sill, in open
cupboards, behind
the sink. He stands
beside her as she tosses
all the wilted leaves
into a rusty bucket.
This house is heaven’s
door, the air gathering
the bashful smells of
blossoms, roots, cut
stems, wet dirt, new
and rotting leaves.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Poetry East

Subsequently published in Broken Symmetry

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Visit Roan & Black to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

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Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

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And, of course, click here to visit ridl.com, check out what Jack’s been up to, maybe say hi!

12 thoughts on “The Gardeners

  1. Dear Jack,
    your father was a remarkable gardener and you are, as everybody here knows, a remarkable poet and wonderful Mensch. Thanks for that green garden poem. And also thanks for the compost inspiration a few weeks ago. I have built two heaps and they are doing good, especially today in the pouring rain.
    Love and care, from Germany
    Norbert

    • Ahhhhhhh compost–so good for the soul!
      As you are. This soul is healed time and
      again by your abiding kindness.
      Sending care and hopes for good calming times.
      XX

    • Thank YOU!!!
      And of course you supported restoring the paintings at the Womans Club.
      All you do for all of us. It’s amazing!!!
      XX

  2. The memories of parents and grandparents that were devoted gardeners remains vivid. The flowers and food that graced our lives then continue as a reminder of the legacy that lives on. Verses lovely and germane to lives lived in joy and celebration, Thanks for the marvelous words so beautifully crafted.

    • Oh Charles, your words are heaven’s doorway. They are. They come
      from a heart that holds his whole life within it and tends it
      with tenderness, gratitude, and the truest love.
      My gratitude spans acres
      XX

  3. As your poems always do Jack, thank you for taking me to this magical garden home where I can see and smell the flowers as I walk through the poem with you. With much appreciation for your gift of words,
    Cheryl

    • My Friend,
      I thank you. It’s you who creates–lives that get to live. You walk
      through the days with gentle grace, compassion for all who so deeply
      need such, and with gratitude for all that brings the good.
      XX

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