This is a big poem, in my opinion.
We are running through the groves,
knocking over smudge pots,
throwing oranges and avocados
as we run, stopping only to peel back
the rind of a grapefruit and take
a bittersweet bite. We are young
and can still run full bore
down each aisle, screaming like banshees.
We climb the highest kumquat trees
pulling ammunition from the branches.
And, we can’t stop laughing.
You have come to me in this dream
as a child. As if we were children, together,
in this grove – though we never were.
You have the same wide grin,
the same electric eyes, the same way
of making sure I know you
are commander in chief,
and will gallantly lead your troupe
into this fight. The unseen enemy
of time and decision. You tell me
what fence to respect as a fence,
and which one to climb over –
which one to sit on. I write down the rules.
Slip the paper into my front pocket.
I would do anything, Commander,
because you are fierce and magic
and I am in awe and this is our Neverland.
You sit to string a bow out of a branch
and some twine. I hold tight to my slingshot,
I can see we are readying ourselves
for a great battle. One I am afraid
to fight. But, there are tears.
You hold out your hand to me and
show me a thick splinter, deep in your palm.
I take your hand in mine, examine,
and then gently begin to remove the sliver.
You don’t move until it’s done,
and then you jump up grinning, again –
happy that there will be a scar.
Happy that we saw a little blood
on this day, after all. You stand up and hold
your bow to the sky like a princess warrior
and you run off, disappearing into the dusk
and dirt. We’ll soon have to head back,
I am sure, and you are growing weary of
this same game. I know the life ahead and
wonder if this is our chance to not walk
through the gate. What if we stayed here?
In this grove? Lived off of the fruit and snakes?
I hear myself say this out loud and you answer
from the tree branches just above.
You climb down to the lowest branch
so I can see your disappointment in me.
“Don’t be a child. Don’t be so spineless.
There is nothing here but dying trees,
wild ducks and field mice.”
Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.
(1990). “In good faith”, Penguin (Non-Classics)
This is what a farm ought to look like. This is a picture of The Eden Project in Cornwall, England. Unlike conventional monoculture planting, this polyculture system diversifies the soil life, making plants less susceptible to pests and disease.