Gardens are also good places
to sulk. You pass beds of
spiky voodoo lilies
and trip over the roots
of a sweet gum tree,
in search of medieval
plants whose leaves,
when they drop off
turn into birds
if they fall on land,
and colored carp if they
plop into water.
Suddenly the archetypal
human desire for peace
with every other species
wells up in you. The lion
and the lamb cuddling up.
The snake and the snail, kissing.
Even the prick of the thistle,
queen of the weeds, revives
your secret belief
in perpetual spring,
your faith that for every hurt
there is a leaf to cure it.
For Gerstler, being with nature gives a calming affect to humankind, letting stresses and strains go away: “the archetypal human desire for peace/with every other species wells up in you.”
She talks in In Perpetual Spring of how spring brings the idea of peace, and hope. It’s time for a new start, a fresh start, a hopeful start: “your secret belief/in perpetual spring,/your faith that for every hurt/there is a leaf to cure it.”
The freshness of spring and new life also gives hope that unlikely friendships could form, that even the most fearsome predator can be tamed. “The lion/and the lamb cuddling up./The snake and the snail, kissing.”
Yet this idea of Spring bringing peace and love isn’t shared by Denny Bradbury. In March Spring, she shows that it can be a letdown, “bumblebees awaken now to stumble out their food to find from early stems/of nectar sweet that disappoint and so too cold to fly they fall on path awhile”.
She tells of how humankind “watch and interfere” with nature’s cycle, rather than sitting back and appreciating it and letting us have hope as in Gerstler’s In Perpetual Spring. Instead of interfering, we should “learn that we’re here by chance/so let the world still turn in time”.
Spring is not so awesome now late flowering of an ageing soul
flowers bloom and sway and stay away from winds that blow too soon
too rough and with uncommon gusts send buds into defensive mood
leaves know not whether they should come and hang their pretty green
or keep within their safe cocoon till March to April warmth gives way
Birds build their nests as ever seen with twigs and grasses softly strewn
in branches not yet swathed in clothes that mean to hide their eggs by day
bumblebees awaken now to stumble out their food to find from early stems
of nectar sweet that disappoint and so too cold to fly they fall on path awhile
to gather sun which warms their wings so they can soar once more to sup
and gather all this instant cup of cheer and so back to nest and eggs to lay
this cycle round and round it goes and we just watch and interfere where
nature needs no help from those who ruin all by base degrees of selfish
harm when all we need to do is tread with lighter step upon the head
of this blue planet so designed to swirl through space as undefined
by human souls as it should be and we learn that we’re here by chance
so let the world still turn in time while we live on in humble rhyme