Submitted by John Fuller

A Garden Tribute to Van Gogh

(without the Ear) 

 

By Susan Caisse

 

Mammoth sunflowers simply smile  

big moon faces, so loved for their size  

reflecting yellow upon my garden while  

ears do not grow, corn or otherwise. 

 

The artist plants tall branches, absurd  

among my yellow global moons  

with dirty faces  

so beloved by birds.  

Back and forth, they titter and swoon. 

 

Purple martin house, perched sublime  

proudly surveys the big lovable faction  

and nestled between the apple and pine  

my hammock lies steady, ready for action. 

 

Mr. Van Gogh, beautiful and mad, 

oh, artist of the mammoth sunflower, 

you must be impressed, pleased and glad 

that I plant these beloved moons that tower. 

 

 

Garden Prose

By Susan Caisse 

My garden lies in sweet repose

as spring glides into summer,

among the flowers is my rose,

a fair and sweet newcomer.

 

For flowers in my vase I chose

coralbells, daisies, and aster,

and in the center my sweet rose,

others try, but can't outclass her.

 

The others fluff their petals so

and display such a pretty color,

but compared to my sweet rose,

they brighten an itty-bit duller.

 

I love all my garden flowers;

they are as pretty as this prose,

but of all, the one who towers,

is my fair, sweet, pretty rose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOLLY FARM    

A Poem by Kelsy Johnson

 

 

Three butterflies dancing and a child calling their name.
Sun warms the skin, for the breeze has just begun to feel cool. There are flowers
everywhere—there, here, in your veins. The smell of them and the sound of bees awaken your
dormant senses.


You might hear the rooster call home a simple time. Or see the meditation labyrinth alive
with flying things and a walking seeker. You too might meditate on the bird calls, not having
known before the world of dynamic sound.

Maybe you’ll see Brit and me doing clumsy ballet in the gazebo, that thing adorned with
a roof of leaves and a spinning horse to point the way into the soul. And you’ll see the others and
hear them, too. Maybe Jeanie with her dog will tell us hello and insist that we look professional.
I’ll laugh and agree, but Brittney will be humble. And all the while, I’ll be marveling at
community in its free-floating perfection, and maybe if you’re close, you’ll notice it in the color
of my cheeks.


Or if you’re like me, sometimes you might just fall asleep on the swing beneath
sheltering branches.


If you’re lucky, you’ll see Gary, tending the garden in his butterfly hat, or old George
walking the land he donated years ago. If you have the chance to speak to him, make sure you
say your name loud and ask him about his late wife’s poetry. The words will find you as you
walk the path, her lines of love shining proud amongst the green.
Don’t be afraid of the little gnomes in the garden, but do know that real fairies live in the
small spaces in between.

Maybe as you wander, you’ll try not to wonder how such a place came to be.
And maybe I’ll stumble upon you, looking like Alice among the scenes. I’ll see you
touch the leaves and the flowers and hopefully skip around without shoes. I’ll be sitting off
somewhere, squeezed into a mushroom, letting the fairies braid my hair. But I’ll notice your
fresh aura, all awakened and new, cleansed by the crystalline air.
I’ll step out onto the grass, wait until you see me, then approach, purposefully crunching
the leaves so as not to startle you. You’ll look up, out of breath, fresh out of words, and that is
when I will ask,
“First time at Folly Farm?

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“I trust your Garden was willing to die . . . I do not think that mine was—it perished with beautiful reluctance, like an evening star—”

Emily Dickinson

 

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The Caterpillar


Brown and furry Caterpillar in a hurry; Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you; Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.


Christina G. Rossetti

 

 

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A Minor Bird

I have wished a bird would fly away,
And not sing by my house all day;

Have clapped my hands at him from the door
When it seemed as if I could bear no more.

The fault must partly have been in me.
The bird was not to blame for his key.

And of course there must be something wrong
In wanting to silence any song.

Robert Frost

 

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Fireflies in the Garden

Here come real stars to fill the upper skies,
And here on earth come emulating flies,
That though they never equal stars in size,
(And they were never really stars at heart)
Achieve at times a very star-like start.
Only, of course, they can't sustain the part.

 

Robert Frost

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The Summer Day

 

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean –

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down –

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down 

into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do 

with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

 

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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.

Katherine Riegel