BTT #78: Raspberries and the Glory

Raspberries and the Glory

.

It is such a graceful name.

.
For such an awful curse-

.

“Morning Glory”

.

Say it and what do you see?

.

It brings me

No thoughts of a

Beautiful start to any day,

Rather, I see a choking weed that

Was once my responsibility

To clear away from 

The spiny leaves and briars

From acres of autumn raspberries

Standing in long rows of 

Summer, too early

And too hot 

To yet be bearing fruit.

This weed did not merely

Rob and feed beside our crop, 

But entwined itself with it,

Twisting and

Winding round

The canes,

We would have to find the 

Vines or leaves, hanging like small

Upended hearts of dusty green,

And uncurl them from

Around the pricking thorns, and 

Follow them to their

Base and pull out as much 

Root as we could, 

Maybe an inch, or maybe two

At the most before it would crisply snap 

Off below the ground, leaving

A small tip behind,

Like a worm in the brain

To sprout and 

Grow and curl and twist

And live to fight 

Another day.

.

I was, of course, quite useless.

Some weeks I would 

Move unrelenting up and

Down the rows, untwisting,

Uncurling, and pulling

And snapping.

And when I would finish the patch, 

It often seemed

More glories would be waiting for me

When starting over than

When I first began,

But still I would start again

Thinking of the coolness of

The city pool, and my bicycle

Racing the dry wind

To carry me there,

And my brother, pacing ahead 

In the rows, 

Vines and tendrils

Gathering like bones of locusts

Beneath his never stopping hands.

.

I was young, 

A tween before we knew 

The name or inclination,

So maybe I can be excused,

Just a little,

If I would just give 

Up and hide sometimes 

In the brambled shade as

Our sleepy Irish setter 

Slept, or snapped at bees

Or simply gazed out at everything

While I would read.

I covered most of Tolkein there,

Devouring and turning

Pages in secret shame

As Pellenor was won

And Gollum slipped

Screaming into the flame.

No Spirits came to aid me

From either the

Paths of the Dead or from

Down the street,  and so

The grey green weed and its

Small white flowers grew, 

Covering our hedge like a shroud 

For ancient kings.

.

I think we still harvested

Plenty of berries in the fall,

I honestly don’t know, learning

Only after years that my

Father knew both my efforts

And my shirkings,

But 

Never

Said 

A Word.

The picking still managed 

To keep us busy when 

East winds from the canyons

Cooled the air 

Then we would all just 

Let the damn weed grow 

And simply switched our 

Hands to gather

Sweeter fruit.

.

I am older now,

And still quite useless

In some ways, having brushed against

Both the joys and boundaries

Of toil, I cannot clear away the

Sufferings of the

Days and years,

The pains I caused,

Or wipe away tears

Gathering beneath the ground.

I can neither untwist or

Uncurl, I cannot even change

What happened yesterday,

But I have tried, sometimes 

Pulling gently for years, but 

Still that quiet snap gives way.

Is it ruthless to flee, or is it just 

Flying to safety?

Can we even judge the difference

From what we thought we knew?

Do we ever measure the sun

Beating out our time in hot rows 

Toiling or only just see the cuts

And scratches lining 

Arms and hands 

Coming up and out of

The tangled thorny maze?

.

I cannot speak an answer,

But perhaps can only hope 

That something always grows.

Our family was large, living on

Teacher’s pay, so as for money

It seemed we needed more,

Selling the berries helped,

But to know whether Father

Was raising fruit or children, 

Even now,

I am not sure.

.

And as for me?

Well, who knows-

Counting tears

And joys, 

The unraveling years

And hours,

The barbs and 

Weighted measures,

We are all held in a balance.

I feel a hand upon me

Resting, and can’t help

But wonder 

If all this time

God was just As interested

In the flowers.

.

-Lona Gynt, July 2021. All rights reserved.

.

Linked to dVerse, a guest hosting by one of its founders, Claudia Schoenfield who invites us to write a poem about gardening. Here is the link:

.

https://dversepoets.com/2021/07/13/poetics-gardening/

.

44 thoughts on “BTT #78: Raspberries and the Glory

  1. Solid biographical poem. i like how you take your time in developing it as you tell the story. Almost stream of consciousness or memory. and you gleaned wisdom about yourself along the way and what we can and can not control. the food and the bed they add to who we are and ir is quite futile to try and root too much.

    This took me back to chores of trimming the hedges and bushes and all the prickly thorns and hot suns and tiring days. I wanted to give up, it seemed it never ended, but even then it shaped me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Brian. That is such a sweet reading of the poem. It is true that there’s so many things we can’t control or change, and while we do the best we can we have to except for we are at some point. I am grateful for the grace as I have been given and your kind words. I still work very hard in my profession, long hours difficult decisions and all that, but I still don’t think much of it has taxed me as much as those summers in the raspberries

      Like

  2. Lona, your description from the time we shared in the fields brought back a flood of memories. Your questions and observations of the overall arc of time made me both smile and cry.

    I too have grown more tolerant of the flowers that I used to seek to destroy with such fervor. Still the flowers always have continued to persist. Maybe even old men can continue to mature.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love you brother. You taught me a lot about work and joy through her life. I believe every state of life brings us new things to learn. We are beginners at every stage because there are new challenges all along the way, none of us have a chance to sit back and become experts at life. I am so grateful for You 💕❤️

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Christine! Thank you and great question, Morning Glory has a long rhizome root that is nearly impossible to pull out completely.. sometimes I could pull out a whole foot before it broke, but that was rare. If I had moved through the patch a lot, we would have starved the roots, but you know… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. oh wow – that is quite an epic write – i like how you took us down with you on memory lane… and oh those morning glory plants… we call them “winden” over here because they just wind around everything and you cannot get rid of them

    Liked by 2 people

  4. This is so beautiful and heartbreaking to me. Like Brian said, this stream of consciousness tells a story about the things out of our control, and it fits with the theme and cycle of life. I found it heartbreaking in how in spite of all your efforts, it didn’t change much in the garden, it seemed. It gives mind to the flowers and weeds—how they are independent like us and will be stubborn to do what they want. It’s a visceral journey and I read this piece aloud so I could absorb each line thoroughly. My favorite stanza was this one for its outstanding imagery:

    “No Spirits came to aid me

    From either the

    Paths of the Dead or from

    Down the street, and so

    The grey green weed and its

    Small white flowers grew,

    Covering our hedge like a shroud

    For ancient kings.”

    It’s just vivid and evocative. You take us on this beautifully written journey where we can see the beauties of life, and how nature can be out of our hands in some ways. If I were to summarize what this piece was in one word, it would be “Powerful.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We can’t really control nature, there is just too much entropy, and we just too small, and besides, when we put ourselves outside of nature, we jut sort of mess it up anyway. This is a beautiful life and place. Whenever I read our friend Brendan, I have to wonder, can we hold it? I don’t think we can, but we do have to stop ourselves from tearing it apart. I am grateful for your lovely comment Lucy.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Sherry Marr

    I could see the two brothers among the rows, and also my own children, helping weed and grumbling in the heat….good memories. I especially love your closing stanza.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I thought the morning glories looked fine until I read that its a weed so I now took it all down. It was twining itself around my rose shrub. I so enjoyed reading your poem specially the berries and your growing up years. Despire it all, I read gratitude and a positive life attitude. Hope all is well. Thanks for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad that you saw the hope and positivity there. At first I had the last line reading :God was more interested in the flowers.” and my wife told me that sounded like I thought that God was not seeing or caring for me, which is cmpletely not the intent of the powm, so I changed it and added that I felt a hand resting on me. Our work and our efforts, both fertile and futile, inform our lives, it is so tough, so often, and I just can’t fix everything I have broken ( no one can), but there is beauty in this work despite all that. You gave me joy with your reading Grace, thank you. Wish I could join in more often, life has been truly crazy, so the time to write is less, but that is becoming more predictable now. Thank you for dVerse and your role in it, and for your always beautiful poems. (Invisible remains still one of my favorites btw, I am sometime a diminished tree in the distance).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My Grandma used to say that a weed is just a flower where you don’t want it. Morning glory and dandelion are beautiful if we take the time to truly see them and appreciate them. Not only are they beautiful, they are useful too (dandelion is entirely edible, and enjoyable, some morning glories are too). We seek our own order at risk of missing God’s beauty, because I suspect that God is interested in the flowers too. Thank you for the beautiful poem

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You carry us along this vivid stream, full of images, thoughts, conclusions, emotions — so engaging to read Lona. The garden is a microcosm of life, full of challenges, and ‘glories’. This was well and bountifully written! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is so moving and beautifully written! I love the way you came full circle, from pulling up the weeds, to questioning whether they might have had just as much a right to their place on earth as any of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ingrid, I have been dancing with circles lately. I have had some difficult and joyful reboots in my life, my last two powms have been some type of circle. Yes, we do spend countless time and energy fighting against beutiful things, just becasue we feel that they don’t fit in our paradigm, don’t we?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Some maturing allows these lines a gentleness and purity where the pain of damage was before too sharp to allow for soft bittersweetness — forgiveness has taken place, and acceptance, allowing a poem of simply what is in what was. The brokenness is of part of a greater garden, where pain and love and beauty and sadness are all loved in a God’s eye, the one the poem waxes in. Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. once again, my friend, you have the heart and eye to see to the center of what I was hoping to say. and so lovely too, “brokeness is part of a greater garden.” There is a teleological thread as well, that not only is the pain and love and beauty and sadness and joy all loved in God’s eye, but just has to be. I threaten to tread in the footsteps of Voltaire’s satirical grasp by intimating any type of “best of all possible worlds,” but perhaps having all of those elements together is the only way it could actually meet my God’s purpose- to learn love. We cannot learn to love unless the peril is very real, unless we have the capability to make truly perilous and painful choices that are the antithesis of love, otherwise- anything garnered from this would not be love, it would just be programming. Now, I do carry the echoes of a little heresy of a little corner of Mormonism that posits that god is not outside of the universe, but rather has learned to exist within it perfectly- and that god does not force or shape what happens, but that everything still happens according to his purpose- which appears to be to be able to become like God- which can only come about by learning how to love, which can only happen if we have the opportunity to really suck at loving. (God did not make all this- he has put it into a certain order though- I tremble when Ivan Karamazov gives his ticket back, why would anyone just create a game with such immense sufferings, just to try to make a bunch of little mini-me’s?) I am not on the same train as Ivan. How interesting, to think of the most powerful being in the universe to exercise the power by basically not exercising the power, by just allowing us to exist, but to be willing to suffer everything that we suffer in order help us home. So for me to feel forgiveness has brought me tremendous peace and joy in the beauty of all of it. I feel greater sadness from those who have not forgiven me, you can meet a brother on the comments here who has been an angel for me, there are others- also angels, of whom it feels liek they have just let me go. One whom I love dearly has not spoken with me in more than 18 months, and I need to ask his forgiveness of something- there are others who still say I was ruthless- but the grace I feel from God, the peace I feel within me, perhaps the forgiveness I have given myself- are palpable. The stakes are high, and I am grateful for you and your love for this earth, our only little film to cling to against the immensities of space. We must love it, the perils are real, we have been given the capability to either save or destroy it, either way what then? I guess the best answer is that we should not ask that question, we need to learn how to live now- we have to live for tomorrow (eternity writ large) as if it were not there. If we bank only on some future glory, then we are not learning to love what we have been given here and now. it is a wild garden.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’m much in harmony with you, friend. My AA years have instilled in the the sense that living in the sunlight of the spirit is a matter of getting as much self out of the way as I can surrender. The oneness is always there. When I can get close to that, my work is their work (the angels, gods, light) and their work is mine.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Life is so hard to untangle…and what makes a weed a weed but our choices and our words? I like the way you have not, in the end, untangled anything, but given everything its place to breathe. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, such a concise and lovely way to get right at it. Thank you K ☺️ Learning that care and love grant and receive room might be the only point to all of this. Solving the Gordian Knot by just letting it be rather than having to destroy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I love how you described, the whole story here, and only, at last, you told about the true necessity of getting those berries the vine tried to choke… getting it all together. I remember reading Tolkien in the sun instead of doing my chores (in my case it was more woodchopping actually)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I feel a hand upon me
    Resting, and can’t help
    But wonder. If all this time
    God was just As interested
    In the flowers.

    Love the close, Lona! Divine pleasure and Divine help are such a blessing more so when you can feel it.

    Hank

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes My friend! Thank you so much for your kind and loving reading. This little Volta At the end Negates all the despair I have ever felt from never feeling like I’m going to be able to be finished Or complete. Love, especially divine It’s a bridge, but so much more than a bridge, I think it might be the only thing that even has a chance of being real. I appreciate you Hank

      Like

      1. While I was too young to help with the raspberries, this poem brings back a fond feeling of not only our family but of the coming of age lessons we are still learning.

        As too morning glory, I am learning my gardening lessons a little later in my life as I battle it in my lawn and beds and have felt the discouragement of trying to get it all. I’ve thought about just letting it go, reimagining my lawn and while adding some more drought tolerant clover, letting the morning glory grow alongside. After all the flowers really are pretty. But the problem is in those unrelenting roots and when I imagine all the things my yard can become, I never imagine morning glory.

        Right now the only time we spend in our yard is working on it, so why am I spending the time? In the end, I actually enjoy it because both it is an act of forward thinking and of being in the moment. Weeding is rarely fun though. Maybe weeding during the golden hour is a little bit fun.

        Our gardening has successes and failures, but with patience we not only, year by year, make our yard a place we want to live in, but more importantly we are developing our character. Patience is key though to enjoying the process, celebrating the successes and learning from the failures, knowing that there is always next year.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Sis! ❤️ I really love that Kristen. Also letting go, trying to get better, looking forward, giving and receiving grace. I see all of that and your comment. Love you!

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s