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The Gardener

Text of Poem

When in the sun and armed with shears
and gloves I now begin to strip
the garden’s bed where frost has lain
this autumn day and snip by snip

I trim the hedge, I rake the leaves,
I dig bulbs, pile dead vine and stalk
in basket after basket full
to carry and burn, I turn and walk

past clumps of asters still in bloom
as still blooms grief I have to keep—
I wish I knew how I could choose
what heart will need when love’s asleep.

I spy a patch of grass still green,
a hawk draws circles in the sky,
but slant rays of the sun at noon
warn me to put the summer by.

Spring seems to shimmer in the air
no farther than the coat I shed,
but in my bones I feel a chill
not of today but what’s ahead.

First Line
When in the sun and armed with shears
Original Pub Location
Original Publication Date
Original Citation
English Journal 60 (Nov 1971) 1079.
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