Home and Garden

jrlewis's picture

Home and Garden

 

Island life is hard on a house                                     sitting beside a shed named Mouse House.

How like a horse is a house,     

                                     tender I                 wonder.  

                                                                  Where is the boundary between wild and wonderful?

Swelling plants

                      will swallow the water hose whole.

Dwelling place

                      cobwebs are the burglar alarm for daddy long legs. 

Pests to us,

                 predators are mice, termites, silverfish, freezing temperatures, dampness.

                                                                 Helpless house defenseless.

                 Protectors are cats, heat, dehumidifiers, humans;

                                                Heat is for keeping the pipes from freezing.

“Houses are healthiest if inhabited by humans; it is a mutualist relationship,” say biologists.

Humans are happiest in houses.                                                               

                                                                                                                                  Right

anthropologist?

 

The house has an illegal rose trellis.                                   

Roses growing                over and under                           graying shingles                                                           

                                                                                                  strangling spring daffodils. 

                                                                                     This is a single plant garden

                                                even the grass stays a way.

At the end of the island,

                     the world, only the front wall will be standing by the roses, oh, old lovers.   

Comments

jrlewis's picture

2nd draft Home and Garden

Island life is hard on a house                                                  sitting beside a shed named Mouse

House.

How like a horse is a house,     

                             tender I                 wonder.  

                                                          Where is the boundary between wild and wonderful?

Swelling plants

                      will swallow the water hose whole.

Dwelling place

                      cobwebs are the burglar alarm for daddy long legs. 

Pests to us,

                predators are mice, termites, silverfish, freezing temperatures, dampness.

Helpless house defenseless.

                Protectors are cats, heat, dehumidifiers, humans;

                                               Heat is for keeping the pipes from freezing.

“Houses are healthiest if inhabited by humans; it is a mutualist relationship,” say

biologists.  Humans are happiest in houses.                                                                

                                                                                                                                        Right

anthropologist?

 

Yesterday                         I threw my decomposing pumpkin away

Now                                                          I’m worried the nor’easter washed those seeds away.

And vines shall entwine with poison ivy.

See how weeds grow with food. 

A pumpkin is a promise                       

                                                            love

                                                                                              one must return to harvest them. 

ewippermann's picture

Your sounds are impressive

Your sounds are impressive and effective, particularly in the first half, pulling me through the poem. 'tender' to 'wonder' (I am pulled across that space easily), 'swelling' to 'swallow' to 'dwelling', 'helpless' to 'defenseless'. The aesthetics reinforce what I understand as the meaning, the contemplative tone transitioning to the dry quoted material to the meta (and (spacially) disjointed) 'Right / anthropologist?' This part prods well with the title, too - it's a wry title (or so I read it). 

After the tone of 'Right / anthropologist', however, I have a hard time returning to the poem, to the contemplating the pumpkin, the quiet worry. It adds a new emotion, a new feeling, but I wonder if it's part of this poem, or if it could be organized differently? I guess it is the matter of intent that you wrote about in your recent post. How do you intend it to end, what feeling did you want to leave with? 

jrlewis's picture

connection

After reading your comments and the poem over, I see what you mean.  There is a very clear change in the tone of the poem.  The sounds change too.  They are harder, less connected.  I you've given me some ideas for how to revise this piece.  I would like the first stanza to flow more smoothly into the second.  I'll post my revsions soon.  Sadly bogged down in grad school applications...

interloper's picture

One must return.

one must return.

interloper's picture

I like this one.

The new version. Nice

interloper's picture

Why do i like this, you ask…..

Well, there is usually a bit of mystery to your poetry, at least there is for me, and this one is no exception, but I like that and this poem evokes a certain feeling. Especially in the second version. A battle (or a balance?) between inside and outside. Nature and structure. Human warmth vs. the elements. Order vs. disorder. Decomposition vs. rebirth.

I liked the first version, but I like the way you rewrote it. I like the way you reordered it. It flows better and to me it paints that feeling more clearly as I read it. And it has some nice word play. 

And it begins with the struggle but ends with the hope/promise of the pumpkin harvest. That works for me.

Of course I could be way off base, but that's what I think/feel.

But who am I, and what do I know!?

interloper's picture

Oh, and one more thing. And

Oh, and one more thing. And this might actually be the biggest reason why I like the new version better. The part about the pumpkin, nor'easter, weeds, etc. reveals that the conflict is actually at least partially an inner struggle,  anxiety about order vs. disorder, continuity, control, warmth, human warmth, the future....and maybe this is really the story here, at least as much as it's a story about what is occuring in the physical world. Moving this part to the end of the poem emphasizes this. Again, at least it does to me.

Or am I just making this all up in my imagination?

jrlewis's picture

depression poem?

From your reading, I'm starting to think this poem is a massive metaphor for depression or several small ones.  I define depression to be unresolved conflict between the cognitive unconscious and storyteller of the mind.  You pointed out a series of conflicts long unresolved, to be resolved.  Who knows what will happen with that pumpkin harvest?  Will the pumpkin patch grow up in the weeds?  Will the gardener be around to harvest the bounty?  We don't know, there is some enxiety here. 

With all the uncertainty and unhappiness in the poem, it interesting that both you and I think it ends on a positive note.  Almost comforting?  I wonder, would this poem comfort someone experiencing depression???

interloper's picture

pumpkins, warmth and hope

I have a bit of experience with depression. The only thing that I know of, besides chemicals, that will make that hell dissipate is human warmth. You used the word "love", almost right at the end. This provides a jolt of warmth and comfort to take away. But there are still questions.

I know that I am rooting for the harvest.

jrlewis's picture

Original Home and Garden

Post Halloween,

I threw a pumpkin away.            

Now                                           I’m worried the nor’easter washed those seeds away,

imagining pumpkins entwined with poison ivy.

 

A pumpkin is a promise            one must return to harvest

Swelling plants’

   vines will swallow the water hose whole.

Dwelling place

                         cobwebs are the burglar alarm for daddy long legs. 

Pests to us,

      predators are mice, termites, silverfish, cold, dampness.

Helpless house defenseless.

      Protectors are cats, heat, dehumidifiers, humans;

                                       Heat is for keeping the pipes from freezing.

 

Island life is hard on a house                                     sitting beside a shed named Mouse House.

How like a horse a house,      

                                                       tender;                        

where is the boundary between wild and wonderful?

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