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CapriUni Mudcat Poetry Corner (597* d) RE: Mudcat Poetry Corner 22 Jan 13


Since December 1989, I've been a regular contributor to something called "The Art Garden," which was set up as a cross between live theater, and a literary magazine. At regular intervals (at first, quarterly, then semi-annually, and finally, annually) a theme would be selected by the editor/organizer (Irene O'Garden), and sent out to a group of writers. Each of those writers would, independently, create a piece about that theme (a poem, essay, skit, or song), and then gather on the appointed night to read/perform their piece on stage before a live audience in a small theater in Garrison, New York.

After 25 years, and 52 performances, nearly all the core writers had come to places in their lives where taking part in the performance was no longer possible (moving across country, moving across the globe), and so November 24, 2012 was the night of the Final Art Garden, with the theme: "Harvest."

This is the poem I wrote, and read, for the event:

Just like the garden, this poem is a trick

Just like the garden, this poem is a trick.
What seems, at first, so natural and free
Is just the clever artist's sleight-of-hand.
(With all the awkward phrases weeded out,
And punctuation paving stones swept clean).
Just turn your back a moment, then you'll see:
True Nature has a way to claim Her own.

The poetry they handed you in school
To memorize, and analyze, recite,
Will cross pollinate and then, bear fruit
And Dickinsen and Shakespeare will entwine
And you'll forget--
Who wrote the one about
The hen and the wheelbarrow?

Scraps of conversation overheard
Will drop, like seeds, from a passing bird
Onto the farmhouse roof,
And Virginia Creeper,
Like illuminations in the margins of the page
Will curtain down your windows and frame the scene
As garden transforms to enchanted wood

Where tadpoles covered in fur, and web-footed mice
Swim in the frog pond,
And men sprout beards of leaves
And goat beginnings end with fish's tails
Like the punch-line to some joke.
And Red Riding Hood seeks flowers that never grew
On her mother's windowsill.

And where, once upon a time, Rapunzel (her hair cropped short),
Banished from her tower, built a house of her own
And did just fine. With her son and daughter
Toddling at her heels, she harvested acorns for their bread
Until her blind, despairing, Prince stumbled to her door.
He carried her home to a royal garden:
Always tended, never free.

I wonder: did she ever crave a taste
(as her mother had)
Of her own green namesake,
That grows (unbidden)
Amid the stubble of last year's wheat?

...Do you?


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