The Way Green Growing Things Do Thrive Generous

From Redirection, 2017.


(This poem is written because of, about, and for my friend John G, who loves plants and art and sharing them.)

The Way Green Growing Things Do Thrive Generous

You live alone in the
tall thin house built almost on the sidewalk.

You set out one pot of pansies.
It was early spring. You liked the look of it
perched up at the side of the concrete steps
from the street. You added another. When it got warmer
you found a stack of empty pots
bigger ones
in the basement. You filled them with soil
and yellow flowers
you got for a dollar because they were
almost dead but now
they thrive.

You brought the houseplants
to join in
fresh air children
bewildered by the luxuriant light
and water showering from the sky but
they soon took hold
surpassed cramped ambitions
bushed out and overflowed their pots.
Someone passing on the road
– the green growing things
by now lining both sides of the steps
set up comfortable and greeting each day
with the interest neighbors take
in street happenings –
this person left you a couple pots of anonymous
that to this day have not revealed a thing about themselves
except that they like your front steps
a lot.

After a rain it is hard to squeeze through the crowd:
branches bowed down by the collected drops
wet your legs to the knees.

I see you
evenings, especially
sitting on the upper set of steps
surrounded by flowers and fireflies
You say you live alone
I don’t think you do.


11 thoughts on “The Way Green Growing Things Do Thrive Generous

  1. My mother was like that. The only thing she never got to grow was plumbago, not even indoors, but she was way north of its natural habitat. I grow masses of it outdoors for her.

  2. I had to look up plumbago as I have heard of it but don’t know it – and I see why, it grows far south of us, too. Too bad, it looks beautiful and is said to be deer-resistant (something I need in my yard). My friend can get anything to grow and when he brings you a plant, it is always in a wonderful pot , too, so that the plant just looks happy all around.

  3. I love the picture you painted. One of my houseplants became infested and I had to clip it back and take it outside. It’s thriving even in the heat. Perhaps plants don’t like to be always indoors any more than people do. (K)

  4. Thank you. I believe that given the choice a plant would rather be outside, but in the right place, especially ones that have been indoors, they get sunburned and I always feel sorry for them!

  5. Thank you. I am middle of the road with plants, they don’t die, but they don’t love me like they do my friend in the poem. Green thumb, he has.

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