The Garden of Community
by Walt Howat*
Forgotten land, angry weeds
Bitter winter, litter cast
Dignity Lost, tangled reeds
Found for garden, saved at last
The colorless weed stalks are torn away,
hardy fingers march into this urban patch
this plot of orphaned dirt, forsaken by man,
wrinkled with brick shards and broken glass.
Kindly fingers in bulky Walmart gloves
gently pick and clean, and sift the age.
New black earth with dark aroma kneaded
by baker-like hands, carefully blending.
Green and white powders enrich and calm;
each colored grain giving princely powers,
as gems in a crown to this lost-waif loam..
Seeds of so many sizes are scattered;
some pushed down or gently pressed and prompted,
now by raw naked fingers, not gloves,
aching to embrace this born-again soil.
Loving hands belong to white-haired ladies,
and to mothers with toddlers, sitting near,
to angular men with skinny fingers,
to short-breathed rounded men with rough hands;
all in love with this tiny swatch of ground.
Men named Antonio press cuttings of vines
with dreams of valleys where great wines once grew.
Thin stark lady plants seeds for sage and thyme.
Thick dark woman plants sweet potato eyes.
A question mark of a child plants flower seeds..
This once ragged patch, the lost street urchin,
now seduces lovers from all grades. all dreams.
They come together, here, in this small plot,
as they never could nor would anywhere else.
They bow to Mother Earth… her incensed soil,
Here they come to pray for rich offsprings :
vine-ripened fruits, greens, tubers, and blossoms.
But they do it together… in tandem ..
nurturing not only the soil, but each other
*Walt Howat is a friend of CFET and Sacred Heart Church. Thank you Walt for this beautiful meditation in this dreary February!