Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Love Sowing

image borrowed from bing

Love Sowing

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but rather
by the seeds that you plant.”--Robert Lewis Stevenson.

I once knew
           an old bible thumper
                               who lived in Ballard,
who had been a missionary
                               in Central America.

When I was a callow thirteen,
he showed me a thorny bush
in his backyard,
         saying it had spiritual significance
         because it was a Paliurus Spina-Christa,
the plant the Romans used
to make Christ’s crown of thorns. 

He told me his name was Jude,
& that he considered himself
to be an “organic philosopher”.

“Did you know that man’s seed
              is like that of the black mustard;
              one of the smallest of seeds,
but when cast into fecundity,
              it will grow into a golden yellow tree?”

He showed me a big impressive green house
butted up to a tiny chicken shed,
           yes, he kept chickens in the city--
& in the humid hot house stood
           a dwarf Date Palm plant,
           loaded with fruit;
“Our Lord ate from a tree just like this one.”

& in large dun ceramic pot grew
    a dwarf common olive tree,
    laden with clusters of greenish-black olives;
smiling he gently said,
    “If you ever become a peacemaker, stop by
     & I will give you an olive branch.”

Oddly, he was proud of a tall thick patch of common nettles;
           “These beauties grow everywhere in the world,
              they are one of God’s mysterious miracles, 
for they will sting you almost blind
             if you touch them with your bare skin,
and yet if you pick them with gloves,
            & boil them down,
            their very essence
turns into medicinal teas & salves. 

Near his
         back porch there
                  was this fat rusty wash tub
                                overflowing with lovely flowers
                  growing together,
their petals shaped like the heads of sea horses; 

“This is my Humanis Tub, 
good & evil, black & white, yin & yang--
Angel’s trumpets sharing space with Devil’s trumpets,
inseparable-creating left-brain right-brain melodies.”

I returned to his place
twenty years later,
ready for my gift
of an olive branch;

but he had died,
& so had his biblical garden,
yet I understood
        that he had enriched
        the soil with his passing,
& my mind with his kindness. 

Seeds of yesterday,
become tomorrow,
& only the seed-keepers
prevent extinction. 

Glenn Buttkus

Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics

Would you like to hear this poem read by the author?


Claudia said...

i love that quote and i think yes - there's too much focus on reaping nowadays and not enough on sowing those good seeds... i like the black mustard part as well... no matter how small our seeds are - there will grow huge plants...nice...here's to the seed keepers...

Brian Miller said...

and he planted a seed in you, that you could carry on what he knew and pass the seed to us...what an interesting man...i think i would have liked to make his acquaintance and walk his garden...

how was your trip away my friend?

Anonymous said...

Very poignant Glenn. It is funny how people we've met at that ge have made uch and impression on us, fertilized our own seed to make it grow. >KB

Gabriella said...

This is a beautiful, albeit sad, story, Glenn! I am glad you became richer for knowing this man. Great closing stanza.

ayala said...

Yes..very cool :)Love the storytelling.

Mary said...

What a moving story, Glenn. I love the idea of an 'organic philosopher' and I love the message of this poem. I so enjoyed the last stanza.. And so very true that only the seed-keepers prevent extinction.

Marina Sofia said...

An original and thoughtful spirit... and you give such a lovely account of him. Yes, mentors, teachers, father figures - all so important, sowing such lasting seeds in our minds.

Victoria said...

Wonderful story-telling, Glenn, and I agree with you, we each have our way of understanding rebirth and some of us accept more than one. The picture you chose for this was so perfect.

Mystic_Mom said...

This story moved me deeply Glenn. What a stunning story you wove, with his plantings and their stories. A truly masterful addition to our Poetics tonight.

ayala said...

I just wanted to add that I love these lines and they actually made me think of a friend of mine.... but he had died,
& so had his biblical garden,
yet I understood
that he had enriched
the soil with his passing,
& my mind with his kindness-

Grace said...

How sad that he died but he did give you lovely seeds, the story of the organic philosopher ~ Thanks for the words of wisdom, I learned something new today ~

Anonymous said...

I find this to be such a romantic poem, Glenn. I don't know if it was meant to be, or whether that says something about the mood I am in tonight! What an impression he has left on us, through you.

mrs mediocrity said...

What a lovely circle you take us in... sad about the olive branch, but somehow, I feel like you found one just the same.

Love your vivid descriptions of the plants and flowers, really well-painted.

Anonymous said...

You and me have so much in common when it comes down to creating and tapping into other worldly dimensions. :)

I so love this poem of yours!

Outstanding! and BRAVO!!! :)

Björn Rudberg said...

I love this.. the philosophy of a plant.. a gentle description of his ways.. and of course the seed of patience he applied to you.. I hope you also have nettles in your garden (actually picked early in the spring, they make a splendid soup)...

lynndiane said...

Title, picture, quote and your poetic story - all of it is truly outstanding, Glenn! Thanks for sharing the harvest of the loving seeds he sowed in your life.

Vandana Sharma said...

Nice narration

Susan said...

He planted in a young man the space, the plants, the history, the sense of connection and a desire to earn a branch. Such a fine epic, so fine. Anyone who writes know we do the same. That ground had changed more than once. So did the young man. The older man had planted himself.

Wolfsrosebud said...

" that he had enriched the soil with his passing," if only we could do that in words... lovely yarn you spun

Anonymous said...

I am a big RLS fan

I thought this was soft and sensitive, but still strong.