In our garden,
Grown over
From years of inattention,
We find what’s there
And work to set it free.

Here’s a holly bush,
From the death grip
Of a honeysuckle vine.
Under the cherry tree
A rock garden emerges
From beneath the grasses
And fallen twigs.

Out back we hang
The rusty metal treasures
We’ve uncovered.
Chains, pieces of gates and boats,
Weathered garden tools
And buckets.
An old aluminum teapot
Now swings from a low branch
On an alder tree.

Surprises emerge.
Halfway down the bath
A blue hydrangea blooms.
This spring an orange azalea appeared
Near the red rhododendron.
We plant colorful annuals
In old cracked pots
And plop them on tree stumps
And a rusty metal chair.
The mossy children’s fort
Becomes home
To a tinkling wind chime.

The sun shines down
Through the alder leaves;
More sunlight than before,
Since the tree man downed the dead ones;
Dappled light
Encouraging growth.
Fresh air
Touches limbs and branches
That were choked and crowded
For so long.

And back behind the fence
The clippings are tossed
And become compost.

About the Author

Jan McMillan

I began writing poetry in college in a creative writing class. After college my writing lay dormant for several years while I raised my family. It came to life again after I came out to my family and friends when I was 37. Coming out seemed to release my creative self and I became a more active writer. I've never been a prolific poet, nor a very disciplined one. I let the poem emerge and have always tried to let it arrive in its own time. The subjects of my poetry centers mainly around nature, human relationships and spirituality. I also write haiku in keeping with my connection to nature and Zen Buddhism.