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,
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.