Sunday, May 16, 2010

Keeping the Garden

Daily I walk
Through elder trees and newer foliage
On familiar paths that change.
Canopies of leaves extend and reach
To cover the growth that sometimes frightens.
The orchard’s fullest depth holds a mystery.
Its many rooms remain a wonder.
The Garden I keep for another
Has fruit both wild and tame.
Each tree bears fruit in its own season,
Save two.
That place in the Garden is different,
And the two trees unique.

Since its planting,
The first never ceases to furnish fruit.
It never stops bearing,
Not for a moment.
The tree has one eternal round
Of giving two gifts –
Fruit which is ripe, and that which is rotten.
Upon first picking,
The tree’s forbidden flavor
Became common knowledge.
The delicious fruit has been greatly desired
By all who have tasted
For many seasons since.

At first harvest,
The second likewise experienced a change.
In place of always providing
This tree is continually ripening.
Closer and closer, the fruit, white and pure,
Nigh to ready,
Seems just out of reach.
Whether by knowledge,
Passed on in story,
Or due to lack of availability,
The fruit of the tree,
So full of life,
Is declared most desirable above all.

Between the two trees
An empty spot lingered;
Ground most fertile, and peculiar, perhaps.
If these others should bear
So very uniquely,
I wondered,
What could happen, if only by chance,
That I experiment with a third?
Desire worked in me.
My thoughts made room for hope.
Carefully placed, I set a small seed,
Which I thought
to be mustard.

Presumption took hold.
I qualmed and I doubted.
This Garden, not mine, was mine but to tend.
Still I questioned
If my small effort, insignificant at best,
Could possibly anger the one for whom
This Garden I kept.
With desire to equal both neighboring trees,
I settled, and decided
To watch and to wait.
I nourished, and tended, and kept.
And then I was angered.
What I saw was not what I thought.

Two trees stood,
Each flanking my spot.
They were majestic and strong,
Ideal for the ground
So fertile and willing.
But mine,
Twisted and gnarled, not slender or strait,
Had come from the dust,
Much smaller, and weaker.
I was less hopeful.
Perhaps it wasn’t the Garden soil after all.
The tree seemed disappointing,
My efforts vain.

Were it not for the notice
I gave to the leaves,
Which seemed to resemble the very first tree,
I should not have discovered
The fruit, a single olive,
Matching in whiteness and brilliance
The color of the ever ripening fruit.
There between trees, a third form was growing,
Finding strength from the soil
And the other two trees.
It was becoming and resembled
Another mount, another garden,
Covered in trees.

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