Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Rules for Planting Roses (Poem)

The Rules for Planting Roses

I knew all the rules:
how you plant only after

you have everything
you need at hand: soil, water,

knowing where to cleave,
and how direct sun won't be

enough if you lack control
and crowd the ground you have

to turn over, or fail to stifle
competition where the crabgrass

has lain dormant 100 years.
At bare roots, I knew, the hungry

don't feed the fussy but take,
and the ball, if bound, won't bed

and reach its full potential.
Sometimes you have to amend

what the earth does not provide
for, adjust for variety, mulch

for moisture, check for black spot,
powdery mildew, inevitable rust.

Pruning doesn't mean expecting
the same performance from every

rose. You have to practice to remove
the weak, the dying, and the dead

well before their infection spreads.

© 2012 Maureen E. Doallas
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This month, the Image-ine theme at TweetSpeakPoetry and Every Day Poems is Roses. Go here to learn how you may share your own poem or read the contributions of others.

21 comments:

R.H. Mustard said...

How did you know I was such a sucker for poems about rules and death? I've come to expect such a high level of craft from your work. This does not disappoint. Please forgive me if I forget you have other readers, too.

Ruth said...

Loving the rose, knowing where to cleave. Beautiful.

Louise Gallagher said...

Even the title of this poem called me into your garden of words.

I LOVE this poem!

it speaks to me on the ground level, and in that deep metaphorical place your poetry always touches.

Hannah Stephenson said...

I just love the tone of your voice in this one, Maureen.

L.L. Barkat said...

Ah, the temperamental nature of the Rose and the bed. Well-captured.

jen revved said...

I love how for many of us, a rose is an instantaneous metaphor; this is a lovely poem with a methodical development, revelatory of the spiritual and physical processes of planting-- and the end well earned! xxxj

Lisa W. Rosenberg said...

Beautiful and informative, Maureen.
ALso, I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for both the Versatile Blogger and the Beautiful Blogger Awards! Here is the link to my post: http://lisawrosenberg.com/2012/05/08/versatile-blogger-beautiful-blogger/. No pressure; just wanted to share. (You may already have these too!)

Susan Bearman said...

I think I'll just plant your poem instead.

Beachanny said...

What an exceptional metaphor for the benefits of pruning. Poetry requires these preparations too, and yours are always so well tended. I love to relish in your blooms.

Brian Miller said...

lovely reflection on the care and planting of roses...and it does make a great metaphor as well..the line on the hungry and the fussy gave me pause and also not expecting the same performance...nicely done maureen...

Brian Miller said...

lovely reflection on the care and planting of roses...and it does make a great metaphor as well..the line on the hungry and the fussy gave me pause and also not expecting the same performance...nicely done maureen...

orangeuapoet said...

Would it break a rule to simply say I liked your poem...it reminded me of my own past gardening effort the zen of it all.

S. Etole said...

So well done ... pictured my rose bushes as I read ... and more.

Cindee Snider Re said...

Interesting how it's more about investing, knowing, experiencing than rules...more about wisdom gained through experience than following a simple linear list. Wonderfully written, Maureen!

hedgewitch said...

Graceful and minimal but rich in layers of metaphor--so often those sorts of thoughts are in my mind when I plant--planting is far and away the most connected part of gardening for me, and I feel that here.

Patricia said...

Exactly what Louise said and totally agree with Susan's darling comment.
This stays with me...
Pruning doesn't mean expecting
the same performance from every
rose.
I love how you do what you do. =)

manicddaily said...

Such clear concise lines but also packed with nuance and meaning and a kind of stream of consciousness flow. Well done. k.

nance said...

i dig this.

Kathleen said...

Oh, beautiful. And so rich. And makes me looks at my roses.

Evelyn said...

I have to say I found this refreshing! void of emotion, yet hinting at the secrets of nature.
just wonderful!

Megan Willome said...

I don't know what you're writing about, but it hit me on the subject of parenting. Thank you.