By Theodore Roethke

Watching hands transplanting,

Turning and tamping,

Lifting the young plants with two fingers,

Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,--

One swift movement,--

Then plumping in the bunched roots,

A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping, and turning,

All in one, Quick on the wooden bench,

A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,

Once, twice, and a faint third thump,--

Into the flat-box, it goes,

Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:

The sun warming the fine loam,

The young horns winding and unwinding,

Creaking their thin spines,

The underleaves, the smallest buds

Breaking into nakedness,

The blossoms extending 

Out into the sweet air,

The whole flower extending outward,

Stretching and reaching.  


As featured on
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Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.
Theodore Roethke
Theodore Roethke