Day 4: The Worry Garden

Before I get to today’s poem draft, I have to say how much I have loved celebrating Poetry Month with my students this week. Although we read poetry all year, we have been discussing a different poem every day this week. It has been astonishing to listen to their comments on poems by Plath, Whitman, Wordsworth, Jack Gilbert, and Hannah Stephenson so far. Next week will include Tony Hoagland, Douglas Goetsch, Dana Guthrie Martin and Melissa Stein.

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Today’s poem came from a prompt I gave to my students after reading Jack Gilbert’s “Michiko Dead.” The prompt asked writers to choose an emotion and write about it in extended metaphor. (I can’t wait to see their completed drafts…I think they will be better than mine.)

The Worry Garden

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Each frail tendril fed

and watered, each tiny

sprout, no distinction

between weed and flower,

each hint of green

a new fixation.

Fenced from rabbits,

fertilized with sighs

and fluttering pulse,

each seed takes root

and thrives, pushes

its fingers deep into soil.

An infinite growth cycle.

As surely as one plant

withers and dies, a new

life unfurls, grows from

speck to shoot. I will never

stop picking dirt from my nails.

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