My Garden Roots Ilona Erwin Feb 14, 2009 3 Comments

Way back, ...oh, in 2005... I came across a meme that I had fun doing called the "Where I'm From" poem. It seems to have started with Fragments from Floyd, although I first ran across it @ Pratie's Place. They were all based on an original poem. Since doing the Garden Mission Statement and seeing the many inspiring ones @ Gardening With Confidence, I wondered if it would work to combine them into a Garden themed poem exercise.

The original rule went like this:
I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

I'm going to try it here with the insertion of "My Garden is" for I am from

My Garden is a hoe and shovel from Union Tools and sweat from my brow.

My Garden is the rural fields, flat plains ironed by glaciers, once Indian hunting grounds now drained by immigrants looking for their paradise. Dark, rich, peppered with arrowhead relics, mysterious with fertile prairie stories. Redolent of mown grass, awakened sweet earth smells, the perfume of blossoms in nature's secret formulas.

My Garden is the old fashioned shrub rose, thorny and seductively sweet; the green grass, ever mowed and ever growing; the apple blossoms and cherries so briefly blooming, so fully fruiting; the free, self sown poppies laughing at the sky and dancing in the wind. It is red ripe tomatoes, and sweet peppers, Swiss chard glowing red ribbed, and fresh green leaf lettuces.

My Garden is Protestant work ethic and Catholic mystery, loving beauty, but sometimes unkempt and lazy, from Hungarian pastors growing roses, Ashtabula Lake breezes blowing over iris and peony, and Bakays and Ermatingers. Growing from stubborn ground, sorrowing in loss, enjoying the sunshine of the day, as well as the storm of the season. Perhaps understanding just a little too late.

My Garden is the careful design and the unfinished plan.

From "turn over a new leaf" and "This is My Father's World" hymn.

My Garden is mindful of God's creation, it is a place of solace and comfort, sometimes of prayer, sometimes understanding what a curse really consists of.

My Garden is Ohio, its plains and its Lake Erie, its creeks and runs, its farms and open horizon, its strawberries in June and its tomatoes in August.

From the grandmother who lost her troubles working long hours in her garden- forgetting dinner forgetting all in the planting of iris and flowers, the mother whose house went unkempt while her garden was well trimmed, and the father who delighted in his daffodils and daylilies and made his neat trellises for his rose and his trumpet vine. From children complaining, but growing strong in the sunshine and fresh air, hiding from their mother's call to arms crusading against the weeds.

My Garden is from old well worn trowels, carefully honed shovels, from black and white pictures and memories of egg hunts, from crumbling old garden books,well thumbed and reread, and from old neighbors grape arbors, and crocus rimmed walks, from tree lined streets and sharply trimmed privets, from an old sumac tree, and sips of honeysuckle flowers, my garden is me... where I am my best and my dreams may be seen.

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by Ilona Erwin

A gardener, blogger, writer, who has been blogging here since 2004, and writing for my website, Ilona's Garden since 1998.

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  1. Hi Ilona

    I'm not a person who seeks out poetry as a rule but I really enjoyed reading yours.

    I can see Ohio when I read it. In a funny way it made me homesick for England, Roses, Cherry blossoms etc.

    I thought this was beautifully written.



  2. the secret is in the sauce: you'd be surprised how easy it is to have a good result following the formula. Try it, and you might find that you've written a bit of personal poetry.

  3. What a cook idea, I will have to try it and see how fun this will be. I remember doing stuff like this when I was little, and just loved it! Maybee I can relive the past in some way!


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