Heronswood

by A. Marie

I can walk the world in the Heronswood,
I can walk and talk with the horticulturists
and the nature gods. I can meet with cultures
I never knew, the Thalictrum, the Fuchsia,
the Phlox, the Hakonechloa. With my fingers
I can brush the Bishop’s Hat, with my toes
in my shoes I can crunch along the paths, and
wander freely in a dogwood woodland I can smell
and grasp what the Earth heralded out in its first breath,
the song it sang. I can stand beneath the Hornbeam,
I can press my face into the cascade of vibrant green,
I can and do give love, prayers, to the Shindeshojo,
and place a wish at its rich feet. For what gifts
the growing things bring, blooms of orange and blue
and angel white. I heard once that the Magnolia
was a key to the Yin of life, and that if I slept beneath it,
I would dream of my mothers. I see the babe toad lilies,
with the hellebores and Solomon’s seal; I am told
they will not be born until after the Midsummer,
closer towards autumn’s threshold. I stroll down
the hydrangea road, blossoms from the old wood
tilting out as if to shake my hand, tug at my dress,
tickle my clavicle, reach up, kiss me – swiftly
I fall in love with them. I envision a gala of whirling
leafy stems, the waltz playing, marching asters swaying
up a promenade, the doors open, the hall alight;
I can not get over how bright the grass is here,
how like towers the evergreens are, how full
of scent the air is now, a rolling storm in my nostrils
and I carry the memory home and I hold
in my eye a cypress in silver blue, a summer weeping
under hummingbirds and morning dew, and night
with the zephyr combing the Beni Kazi, as they murmur
the stories of Hakon. I tell stories, of how beautiful
a walk can be, me waxing and waning on botanical glory.
Another fabled garden, another paradise left behind.
I thank Heronswood. Leave my offering
in the form of a sigh.

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