Give Back Your Heart to Yourself

From trellises and branches the gray-haired woman hangs bells shaped like birds throughout the garden – not because she wanted to cross an item off her to-do list, but because the breeze on this foggy June afternoon called her outdoors, because the boysenberry vine craved an ornament, and the bower flower wanted company.

It took her a long time to learn that you don’t need a spreadsheet of garden chores or a master calendar of when to fertilize and mulch, that it’s better to study leaf color, light, and rain. Yet she has a compassionate fondness for the younger self that planted those roses by the book and nourished that baby bougainvillea after a rough transplanting. Who knew roots could be so delicate, so fragile?

The woman’s hands know the soil in her garden now, the clay where the oxalis thrives and the soft earth under the old bougainvillea fed by its own fuschia-colored bracts fallen year after year. She has dug deep, so she knows the roots and burrows too. She abandoned her spreadsheet long ago, for the calendar is in her head now, in the angle of sunlight and the arrival of shadow.

Title from “Love After Love” by Derek Walcott

Published by

Mary Camille Thomas

Mary Camille Thomas is a native of Santa Cruz, California who considers herself lucky to be back after living in Davis, Germany, Los Angeles, Holland, and on the road in a motorhome. She is a librarian by profession, and her poetry has appeared in the Porter Gulch Review and Sisters Singing: Blessings, Prayers, Art, Songs and Sacred Stories by Women. She is is currently working on a novel called Schatz and a collection of poems of the spirit.

One thought on “Give Back Your Heart to Yourself”

  1. I am glad Derek Walcott’s poem inspired you. We are all glad! This is a lovely anthem of waking to the joy from the part of earth you were gifted and who you have come to know and love so deeply through your loving tending.
    Thank you.

    Like

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