A Parsley Poem

parsley1.jpgI have no idea what to post about today, and it’s gently raining outside — so I’ll just send along one of my favorite poems, by J. Patrick Kelly:

Gathering Parsley Before the Solstice

Yes, some dawns have been white

with ice, but the afternoons have been blue hot

and we are still harvesting small things

from our garden.

I put on my red coat, worn skiing, long ago

and torn then by the brutal snow.

Now the rain leaps from the clouds;

Down through the songless trees it glides.

The knife lies on the scored cutting

board. I take it out into the storm, to slice

parsley from the nearly barren garden.

Rain sings on my arms and feet. Dark shapes are

scattered across my shoes–the notes of a botched aria.

The lawn slides away under my feet.

In the garden, puddles are strewn with wreckage:

cracked pods, bits of branches, nests, leaves,

the rubble of autumn. There are smeared

footprints of foraging animals.

In the strawberry patch, oak leaves rot with the unsought fruit.

Tomatoes sink in the mud, mushy globes

of green and red, like eroded stars

dissolving near ruined worlds.

Over the parsley I lean and cut. So close

to winter, it sprouts green, shaking in the rain.

Water slices along the knife, warping reflections.

Two handfuls will suffice.

I gather them up and go inside,

where it’s dry. Somewhere, on high,

the rain begins to turn to ice.


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