This is the time of year, by Britta Benson

I’ve got a gardening poem for you today, bit of a trip down memory lane. Then and now, life in all its layers. Sometimes it feels like time, too is layered, not linear.

This is the time of year

This is the time of year

my dad would gather seed catalogues

on our coffee table,

lay them out like the map of the world,

earmark countries to travel, explore,

nothing too exotic, still promised lands

full of wonderfully familiar faces,

plus a few passing visitors,

guests who might leave or stay,

Dad couldn’t possibly know just yet

where these new horizons would lead us.

His pen would write down the cost

of this year’s dream, put two neat black lines

under the sum, then sigh but smile.

This is the time of year

I look out into my little garden,

see the bare remnants of a sleeping beauty,

buried in last autumn’s leaves.

My life’s garden is a slow, seasonal creature,

inventing time and space as she pleases,

sometimes fickle, often moody, uncooperative,

but never neglecting a good night’s rest.

My dad taught me that gardeners think in forevers.

No other measure could possibly leave enough time.

I’m dreaming of the pictures I saw in the catalogues

on that coffee table, February, many decades ago.

Things I cannot possibly grow in my adopted country.

I embrace weeds, plant trees in the soil of my dreams.

Paradise, not just revisited. Reinvented.

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