The Green Ripper

Piet says he’s been talking with the Green Ripper.
After a week of painkillers he found it amusing
To notice, that in his mind momentarily the diety
Known as the Grim Reaper had been renamed.

Too enchanted, I joined him in the joke; Yes,
What a great name, like the Green Earth ripping
Out weeds like a gardener, more space for more life.
The Green Ripper, yes, would that He/She be green.

Piet’s lifting himself up off the bed, slow and purposeful.
This is the man I’ve seen do that consistently, living life
Purposefully, patiently, spaciously. At 84, going on 50, he gets heaps
Done in a day: of building, of gardening, of study and activism.

I come home and hang the towels on the line after a shower.
Naked in the garden (no one about) I start pulling weeds.
It’s incredible, I think, to see how whole and hearty and
Just so beautiful the garden plants look! How alive!

Piet moves very slowly across to the kitchen to steam some kale.
He has pain now in his knee, hips, and lower back, and
The painkillers really aren’t helping a lot, he says. Slow
And purposeful: he’d be a good match for the Green Ripper.

A Blessing Of Tea

Mint from the garden that was
Growing in the wrong place
At least you will be feast in my cup of tea.

And then to the pot tipped the lot
Of the organic lemon, cut in two domes
And squeezed down on glass.

Bright liquid lemon-shards
Mixed with hot water. Then thought I’d add
The delicate intimate chamomile flowers.

Suddenly what a feast! This calls for bush
Honey, non-vegan but raw so just the
Most generous gift of a spoon.

And then of course, the kawakawa.
A trip to the holey bush by the caravan.
Two leaves just squeezed into the pot.

Now neverforgetting the root of all teas
The ginger, two slices, and two slices
Of tumeric too, so cheap to buy the root.

Seeing them sink like little subs in the sea
My tired eyes draw nearer. And suddenly
Feel. It’s an infusion! What a bonus!

I bow now for a while to my blue and white
Teapot, to this day, to these tired eyes.
And to all of nature, grateful for your blessing.

What’s Good?

My cat scratches the carpet
Hooking his claws
And drawing himself along on his side.

The garden is so generous.
I want to decorate it with figurines and tiles
Like a child’s bedroom
To show it how grateful I am for its inhabitation.

Hasta la vista pasta!
I haven’t touched you for weeks
Today I filled the bowl
With half a dozen steamed vegetables
All different, each taste becoming the
One something.


The Unguarded Garden

The garden is growing.
The garden IS growing.
Growing is what a garden IS.
The garden is like Eden.

The garden is guarded by angels hovering
Above the four gates holding swords of flame.
Inside the gates the garden grows, generously.
We are grateful for the garden’s growthfulness.
We are bestowed with what grows in the garden.

The garden is dying.

The leaves of the young tamarillo tree
Lean down, limp and fringed with brown.
You planted that tree. I was stricken with concern.
I hadn’t seen it fading – only a day or so ago it seems,
It was looking so green, garrulous and go-getting.

You planted it only a few weeks before we parted.
I was stricken. I poured a large bucket of water
Against the woody stem: one of the broad leaves
Broke off and fell to the ground as I glanced it.

Now not even the ways I want to help seem to matter.
I hadn’t seen it, I’m sorry, I hadn’t seen it was dying.
You don’t know how much the garden has been growing.
You don’t know how the large broad leaves are lost.

The garden is growing.
The garden is dying.

If you came back you’d say the garden was still ours.
But the angels with flaming swords wouldn’t let you in.