Skip to content

A Gardening Poem about Living

Here is one of my favorite poems. On the surface, it’s about gardening. But, as you’ll see, it’s really about living.

Our culture favors a “manufacturing model” of life. We “make” money, we “make” friends, we “make” time, we even “make” love! But we are plants, not products, and we need to treat ourselves and each other the way a good gardener treats green and growing things.

I’ve heard it said that while an American child will ask, “How are babies made?,” a Chinese child will ask, “How do babies grow?” So, “How does your garden grow?” is not just a line from a nursery rhyme! It’s a good question to ask about everything that involves human beings and humane values.

The Seven of Pentacles
by Marge Piercy

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food,
if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars,
if the praying mantis comes and the lady bugs and the bees,
then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

(Excerpted. Read the full poem here.)

Share your reflection