Poems in a Japanese Garden
THE BOOK from Amazon.com
Seiwa-en: Poems in a Japanese Garden is Louis Daniel Brodsky's journey into the spirit of Zen. In these thirty poems, he explores the unassuming beauty of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Seiwa-en, or "garden of pure, clear harmony and peace," and finds himself transported beyond its lake, bridges, and scrupulously groomed trees, shrubs, and grounds. What he discovers is a state of mind he’s never before experienced: "The meaning of nature’s ageless flowering — / Peaceful oneness underlying life’s abundance."
Last-minute bees are aimlessly busy,
In this October warmth that must mind-linger for months,
Gathering the rest of the nectar
From every available flower yet growing
And delayed, tantalizingly, in its imminent letting-go.
Each intransigent tree and plant in this retreat —
Osage oranges, ginkgoes, pin oaks, Japanese maples,
Feather celosias, altheas, chrysanthemums,
Autumn crocuses, caladiums, Egyptian star flowers,
Water lilies, arrowheads, papyrus sedges —
Knows, by heart and smell and terrestrial breath,
By the telltale whispering crispness lifting its spirit,
That it’s reached seasonal confluence,
Where finish and beginning are indistinguishable —
Fall and summer swaying in the same breeze.
Another mere spectator to this recessional,
I too sense, with regret, the inevitable evanescence
Settling into the days just ahead, rushing toward us.
Like the flora, I know that the sowing and winnowing
Are necessary destinations, stressful, blessed incarnations.