Today’s title comes from an epigraph to Stanley Kunitz’s book, The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden, written with Genine Lentine and photographs by Marnie Crawford Samuelson (Norton, 2007).

Here’s the full epigraph, presumably written by Kunitz:

I associate the garden with the whole experience of being alive,

and so, there is nothing in the range of human experience

that is separate from what the garden can signify

in its eagerness and its insistence,

and in its driving energy to live–to grow, to bear fruit.

Not so much because of this verse, but concurrent  with its spirit, I started sketching a poem about the papyrus that sits in a pot on our deck.  As I was writing the poem, Kunitz’s word insistence, which I italicize in the epigraph for emphasis, found its way into my verse.  I had started the poem by noticing anew what I have known for some time–that the papyrus reproduces itself by leaning heavy fronds into neighboring waters, which means, in this case, that it plants itself in the next pot over from the mother pot.

Here’s a draft of my poem:

Bowing towards the river

Like the papyrus,

heavy with new growth,

a few of my fronds bend,

forming right angles,

bowing to sip from the river–

all from insistence to sprout yet

another draft of myself.

In the background,

in the young dogwood

slightly taller than myself,

two chickadees dance among the branches,

barely hidden,

watching for their turn at the bird bath.


Note:  After finishing this draft, I turned the sprinkler on the dogwood and bird bath because not only the chickadees, but also the cardinals, wrens, titmice and sparrows were all clamoring for their morning ablutions.  As I write at the window inside, which overlooks the deck and the dogwood, what started as a little chickadee dance has become a full-fledged aviary extravaganza.


Filed under beauty, order

2 responses to “insistence

  1. Stephen G. Kennedy

    A poem full of flight and song and imagination. The reader can experience a bird’s perception of the world and have a universal awareness of the joy of that epiphany. Wonderful!

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