The Garden Master

I want to post some photos of my garden, and thought about what poem to go with it. Theodore Roethke was the great poet of gardens, his father ran a nursery. This one came to mind, earthy, slightly menacing.

Florist’s Root Cellar

Nothing would sleep in that cellar, dank as a ditch,
Bulbs broke out of boxes hunting for chinks in the dark,
Shoots dangled and drooped,
Lolling obscenely from mildewed crates,
Hung down long yellow evil necks, like tropical snakes.
And what a congress of stinks!— Roots ripe as old bait,
Pulpy stems, rank, silo-rich,
Leaf-mold, manure, lime, piled against slippery planks.
Nothing would give up life:
Even the dirt kept breathing a small breath.

Theodore Roethke

And here are the photos, not menacing at all.


2 thoughts on “The Garden Master

  1. You should ge a book of Roethke from the library. I bet you’d like him. He was famously manic-depressive, lots of stories of him holed up at Bennington, refusing to teach, throwing things out the window. Then if you do like him, I’ll send you a book.

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