Saturday, March 12, 2005


It was not too long ago—but quite long enough—I sat, clipboard on my knee. It contained a sheaf of plain white paper, a drawing of a Spanish courtyard, and a poem.

One day, I inherited a garden.
I discovered weeds.
Yes, there were weeds.
I pulled one. It came easily enough, but the root broke off.
Ah well.
I pulled another.
Next weed.
Soon a corner of the garden was mostly weedless.

I returned to the garden a week later.
The root had begun growing again.
It was too small to grab hold of,
So I left it alone.
It grew.

I returned a week later.
It was long enough to hold now.
I pulled.
The weed would not come up.
I pulled.
I pulled with both hands.
I put on gloves and pulled.
I braced myself with both feet.
I pulled.
The weed was battered and beat up, but still would not come out.
Meanwhile, the other weeds sought garden hegemony.

But I WILL have a weedless garden.
I will continue pulling.

“It is sloppy and poorly written. The tone is all over. It’s free verse, and not very good free verse at that. And it only expresses the human half. It doesn’t really explain—well, why the garden should be weeded—and it’s all me doing the weeding. Apparently my muse wasn’t listening at Bible study, when we talked about –what were we talking about? We’ve been talking about it for months—”

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Without faith, you cannot please God.
Work out your faith—
Work out your faith—
Not by works, lest any man should boast.

(To please God!)

And yet it is not I who live, but Christ lives in me.
Drudgery—not drudgery—
But I want to have a weedless garden.
No weeds.
Just flowers.
Fruit, which God grows and you don’t.

1 comment:

Ben said...

An oldish poem of my own, with some application (and maybe, perhaps, a gentle refutation of the analogy). Sort of an inferior addendum to Tolkien's "Mythopoeia."

Poieō Paradeison

I stand not now with those who desecrate,
and say that to invent is to create—
with those who would evolve by scalpel’s blade
and bow before they thing that they have made—
with those who glimpse in their myopia
the far-off image of Utopia.

I stand not now with those who shout “Conserve!”
but would abolish man to earth preserve—
with those who think the plot can only grow
untilled, and tell the gardener to go—
with those who scalp the head to save the lice,
and make of imperfection, Paradise.

Nay, rather, ours it is to train and tend
and by the Will which moves us shape and bend
(but never force), and turn the piece of soil
we hold in steward’s trust, by honest toil;
to water and to till, and freely grant
our time and care and soul, and then to plant
in each its proper place the lowly seeds—
and train the denizens to not be weeds;
for weeds are things unwanted or misplaced,
and in this garden nought should grow dis-graced:
The smallest sprout is mercy’s evidence
(no less than the most fruitful, or immense);
the marvel that from nothing life can grow;
the signature of Love ex nihilo;
the sacrament by which, whene’er we eat,
or take our nourishment (or fragrance sweet),
we may recall that all we have is gift,
and thus our grateful praises duly lift.

For we ourselves are sprouts, and shoots, and seeds
(but by our own rebellion may be weeds),
and oft transplanted, taught and stretched and pruned,
and shaped and strained, and like a harp, attuned
to feel the Master’s touch and echo back
(and forward too) His purpose, with no lack
for any tool or skill which we may need;
for we, though plants, are gardeners in deed.