I am off to Skidmore College this weekend, leaving baskets of unfolded wash and kale in need of planting. I am missing on lacrosse game and a string of difficult discussions. I am heading north, to the soft sweet land of Saratoga Springs where tangy iron tinted waters bathe people in need. A white enameled bathtub full of the hot viscous waters await me.
I am leading a workshop for the Women Writers and Artists Matrix.
The Secret Garden is my guiding theme as we create a small book form filled with collages illuminating our own secret gardens.
I am thinking about how a landscape salvages us. How terrain speaks to us underfoot and directly in to our hearts.
I am thinking, or really, feeling the way the light moved over the tulips still closed in early morning, jeweling strands of spider webs from
the sweet bush to the clematis.
I am thinking about my secret garden.
Here is a poem by Rita Dove.
The Secret Garden
By Rita Dove
I was ill, lying on my bed of old papers,
when you came with white rabbits in your arms;
and the doves scattered upwards, flying to mothers,
and the snails sighed under their baggage of stone . . .
Now your tongue grows like celery between us:
Because of our love-cries, cabbage darkens in its nest;
the cauliflower thinks of her pale, plump children
and turns greenish-white in a light like the ocean’s.
I was sick, fainting in the smell of teabags,
when you came with tomatoes, a good poetry.
I am being wooed. I am being conquered
by a cliff of limestone that leaves chalk on my breasts.
Rita Dove, “The Secret Garden” from Yellow House on the Corner (Pittsburgh: Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1989). Copyright ©1989 by Rita Dove.
from The Poetry Foundation
How about your secret garden?
What’s glistening there?