Consolation for Even the Worst

Each day her full life seeps poetry like jelly
from a sugared doughnut, quivers with anticipation
in a meniscus of golden tea held in a white-China cup.
Its wings flutter into pages, beautiful escapees
from painted covers of a packed notebook.
Rarer in my life, it may pour down in sudden
summer showers, astonish like ecliptic shows
of heavenly bodies. And yet, we vibrate in sympathetic joy,
serving understanding to each other after rejections,
ecstasy for acceptances, the sweet treats of success.

We appreciate the solace of the cat, its limned curves,
musical purring, and silken coat. We both love nature,
though from different habitats. She admires my passion
for my garden without fully comprehending how
at the end of a working day, when my hands lock
in the shape of grasped tools, my shoulders ache and
legs tremble with the oxen’s fatigue, and I sleep the sleep
of flung stones, I am happy as birds flying home to breed.

She questions praise songs for gardening as consolation
for the worst life can spawn from its dark abysses,
doubting its succor for loss of loved ones, nuclear war,
or the elephant’s extinction. I tell her that nowhere else
would beckon to me in those bleak times, that even
the immensity and finality of those griefs would be
more bearable from my garden or small greenhouse,
where seeds would still sprout in their multiplicities
of hope and unfurl green courage for a future—
tarnished, diminished, crueler than all rejection.

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About the Author

Since 1976, my husband and I have lived on a hardscrabble, 40-acre piece of Ozark land as back-to-the-landers, a group of very determined people. We still garden organically and largely rely on ourselves and our community for entertainment and inspiration. I am also a textile artist working in a wide variety of disciplines. My memoir, BACK TO THE LAND: ALLIANCE COLONY TO THE OZARKS was published by Stockton University Press in February 2020, and my poetry appears in print and online.

Ruth Weinstein
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