Monday, 9 August 2010

Magpie 26 - Panama Palendrome Variations


Can in hand
Panama hat on head
I wander the back yard
looking for lonely plants to save

Plants deprived of love
plants others have rejected
plants that have disappeared
under thickening overgrowth.
Weeds

I am a compassionate gardener.
All plants should be treated equally.
I have not designated any hierarchy,
any insider outsider class structure.
Gangly locals and thorny foreigners
equally fail to offend me

The majority of my garden
arrived as imports, migrants
carried as precious cargo
by botanists and adventurers
intent on taming this wild land
replacing the angular and irregular
with manicured hedges and
stately symmetrical giants
from far off lands.

Some arrived as stowaways
with less legitimacy than the convicts
with whom they shared a hold,
mere burrs on the backs of sacks
or foreign seeds
masquerading as wheat or rice
barley or oats

If I had a plan I would begin.
Instead I wander another circuit
unable to decide upon
even the most rudimentary action.
To plant or pull,
to trim or train or trample.
I am a man without a plan
a saviour without the will
to wield the secateurs.

A man with a can
with a panama but no plan
is unlikely to save the planet
and is bound
to be compared (unfavourably)
to George Washington Geothals
who tamed a wilderness, no less.
Front and back.
A man
a plan
a canal
Panama.

18 comments:

violet said...

To me, the weeds are the people I meet along life's path. It's so easy for people to judge and dismiss another who is misplaced or different. You expressed my conviction wonderfully...

Gangly locals and thorny foreigners
equally fail to offend me

The great thing about writing is that it can take on a different meaning for the reader than it had for the author... yet it connects the two just the same.

Thanks for writing!

Janice said...

Very nice. "A compassionate gardener"...I really liked that.

Everyday Goddess said...

Great global perspective on your own back yard!

Excellent Magpie.

Helen said...

Every serious (and non-serious) gardener should have this mind set. Nicely written .......

kathew said...

I always allow a plant to grow until I know exactly what it is and then if it's invasive..it's too late! Nice Magpie!

signed...bkm said...

love the whole piece how you tied the plants into the saving the planet...and the thorny foreigners....well done..bkm

Tattered and Lost said...

Very nice. I envision a gardner who works within the confines of a large city park. I once met a gardner who worked in San Francisco's Golden Gate park. He had the same adoration for the plants he tended.

Brian Miller said...

nice write...i like the embedded message in your magpie...but enough people banded together could sure make that garden grow...

Jennifer said...

I never liked a manicured garden. Give me the wild, ebullient, untamed spilling over of life.

Oh, and what Brian said. The garden = Australia?

Prayer Girl said...

This is my first journey into the land of Magpie Tales and I love your tale.

PG

Tumblewords: said...

A little wild, a lot unplanned, well loved. Nice piece!

Helen said...

.... that's me ~ a little whacky!

sheri said...

steve, what an excellent magpie you've written. i love the smooth transition from merely standing in the garden to migrants and convicts! each line gave me the admiration that anything that would grow was certainly deserving of your tender care...

Kay Richardson said...

Here's one - it's taken me ages to think up -

hi mum you're lovely ih mum ereuoy ylovel,

willow said...

Wonderful implants and stowaways. Gardening must be done in a hat! Love the Panama word play.

~T~ said...

Some here berate us gardeners for introducing non-native plants. But you don't have to plant the natives. They come in around the edges, and everything lives together. Go ahead and water it all!

She Writes said...

I am a compassionate gardener

NICE line! I love that.

Stafford Ray said...

Weed: N. Any plant growing in an inconvenient place.
Maybe you didn't intend your very interesting poem to be a parable, I suspect you did and although you say you treat 'plants' equally, you are aware some need saving. :-)