common or garden poets #5 – Jill McKeowen inviting Irina Frolova


suburban garden song

for Irina Frolova

…songs that save us…

…the slow luscious note of gardenias

Kathryn Fry, ‘Impromptu’


the koel song has arrived, rolling

from the leafy night

as wattle bird cracks the dawn

step out

to the warming world, crimson

lanterns of bottlebrush lit

in a thousand filaments


overnight the young orb

has hung its web, renewal glistening

from awning to gardenia     

on the cusp

of summer, soft as crepe, expiring

waves of perfume

to November’s purple sky

they’ll melt in time to creamy yellow

burn to bronze and fall

like cotton sheets on summer skin

the garden is for being

as we are, a daily practice

not quite finished, and when I’m gone

no-one will know the details


how I sit in the dirt pulling weeds

or digging my fingers in

with the planting of good ideas

                                        the garden guides us

through our small mortality

adapting and enduring, says

this is how it feels to be alive


like every plant, the human body’s

impulse is to heal while moving

yet toward its end


a blue-tongue lizard slides through

the litter of gardenia leaves

and blueberry lily knots


at dusk, vermillion cloud vibrates

in each geranium petal disappearing

to inevitable night  

the roots of life

weave with worms and detritus

and insects sing the white moon

for summer’s returning arc


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