Sunday, December 13, 2015

Night Gardening

Night Gardening

The night gardener bends his back to the black earth,
rakes the day's colors empty with eyes turned down.

Beads of pearl sweat drop on the soil as he
lays out his curving beds along the waterline

planting a course of  brick-hedge seeds that spring up
their flowers in concrete lanterns, beautiful and foolish

under the untended wildflowers of the sky.

revised December 2015

posted for   real toads

Images: The Starry Night, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh,
Public domain vis
Manhattan Skyline at Night,
wallpaper, source


  1. Hey Joy--having a host of computer problems here today so lost my comment even though I thought I'd copied it! Agh!!

    I love this--it has just a lovely cadence--almost like those American Sentences, but I suspect it is because you use so many nouns and such luminescent ones. They fit together so interestingly that one is not sure with each line exactly where it is going and then we are there and that fits the night aspect. I am of course a sucker for city-dom, but this works without the city pic--though it's there, but also the "concrete" lanterns could refer to those castles in Spain built on night shores. Anyway, all lovely and cool. Sorry for my pique re crazy computer issues. Thanks. k.

  2. Night gardening can be a joy, with a full moon. And no mosquitoes! This reminds me of the oyster beds we saw along the coast and in the mud flats of the northwest.

  3. Such a remarkable image, Hedge, encapsulating both folly and achievement of raising our cities to shine through the darkness of our history.
    This is inspired work.

  4. This is The City--the good, the not so good, and what lies in-between...

    I love the image you chose. It makes me think of both, the concrete garden and the garden above...

    The last line is a delight to behold.

  5. It's all in perspective, isn't it? There is your night gardener, gilding the lily, and your contrasting images above and below simply put the exclamation point on it.

  6. First of all.. that version of a starry sky is one of my favorite van Gogh... then the image of the gardener and the wildflower of the sky works so well.. this is how the sky should be viewed ..

  7. To Kerry's comment, I'd add this is perspired work, too -- There's an obvious and rather delightful metaphor in the insomniac poet as a night gardener, but that is not the theme here, but rather that of the planned city nightscape thrown against a wild night sky. I heard King Crimson's "Moonchild" in the background, attending to the work of this solo soil planner and plotter. Fun fun fun the sense of planting a city according to how its lights sprout at night.

    1. That nightscape on the lake is one of the memories I still retain of Chicago--the jeweled string of the North Shore lights marching off to Wilmette and beyond. Perspired work, indeed--don;t even the littlest ones make us sweat blood into our sacrificial 4 am coffee cup. Thanks, B.

  8. Oh, swoon! "under the untended wildflowers of the sky." Wow!

  9. For me, your opening line is super catchy...awesome write, Hedge!

  10. "Beautiful and foolish," how very human.

  11. I've looked at this several times. It's a wonderful picture, painted in a brief splash of words. I'm taken most by the image of the toiling of the meticulous night gardener whose work on the ground is juxtaposed against the almost accidental beauty of the sky surrounding him. I'm not sure any product humans can devise will ever truly compete with that, no matter how hard we try. This is a very engaging and wise piece, with an excellent flow and tone.
    Steve K.

  12. a luminous pen, and to me, with a bit of humor - night gardening. reminds me of the most ancient of fertilizers, night soil, but maybe I'm just demented and fatigued. :) ~


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats