Gustav Klimt, 1909
Saturday, November 28, 1987
The Jeanne Miller and James P. Morgan, II Wedding
The gardener digs in the earth,
piercing rich soil with shovel-edge,
turning and churning moist ground,
hoeing the ground, the gardener hoes the ground.
The women approach the gate.
She, Rosie, pulls back the wrought iron
and Barbara goes in, Rosie follows.
The gardener looks up.
Fresh turned earth seeps a smell
And Sonny waits.
These women bring the seed.
They walk with mother-touch,
Firm press of foot-soles mark their intent.
Sonny knows. This is what he wants.
The ground is ready.
Barbara bends to the soil, parts it,
deepens a trough in cool black crumble.
Rosie, the seed cushioned in the center of her palm,
leans to roll it out and down the sculpted tunnel.
They hesitate. Neither moves. The gardener
waits. As if the next movement could be
thwarted, put off, the tiny seed taken back
from prepared ground
at the bottom of a small hole,
in the garden of the gardener.
But this was only a moment’s hesitation.
Both women scooped cupped palms to cover the tiny life,
pressing soft earth to contain and protect the seed.
Barbara poured water over the mound.
The earth drank it up.
Each woman leaned back.
The work was over.
Now to sit, still, so still
and wait, just as the gardener waited,
watched, with foot propped to shovel-edge,
his hand resting on Rosie’s shoulder.
This was no ordinary waiting, in ordinary time.
Years, the two mothers watched
and Sonny leaned to see, as the ground was pushed
back by the fledgling plant, unrolling
its succulent stem so like the embrace
of a man and a woman,
indivisible and upward to the sun,
warm and open. Two branches broke out from the main
stem, opening to the roll of warmth that descended.
Reaching stems proffered leaves, like palms
of lovers asking and receiving the necessary,
Stems lengthened to vines, leaves widened
and the mothers watched, the gardener waited
till day faded–no ordinary day–and night’s moon
yearned halfway down. The vines folded
into each other, bent and twisted and wrapped
within each other, so like the life
of a man and woman and the night
was good and cool and close.
Yet the sun came back,
slow creep into black,
slow to pink the sky,
and orange the dawn.
Vines untwined, palms unfurled
and reached sunward so like imploring arms
And the mothers called
to others: Paul, Fred, Vickie, Jacquie,
Wendy, Dean, Flora, Louie,
Michele, Nancy, Bonnie, Ike.
Now is the time,
full and open is the day
no ordinary day, no ordinary time
as vines bear fruit,
two distinct kinds from one plant,
so like two friends
of the compassionate kind.
And the people hear
and the people gather
at the gate to watch the mothers
and the growing vines
and the gardener keeps hoeing, hoeing.