You and the Grasses I Love
Joannie Stangeland

You and the Grasses I Love

On my knees I am pulling
long grasses—ripping out the roots
of weeds, what goes to seed,

the rampages of thoughts
blooming, feathery clouds
among the irises and bees.

I am yanking the grasses that make
my city yard wild.
Time was, any uncut patch

of lawn lush or dying
looked like the country—a field
I cut across, pausing

halfway, pretending
down to the clover
a pasture and the horse.

The wind whickered, and I asked
again for an acre or so—
a little wild

place to walk, to stop and sit.
I have been smitten
with Boboli and Versailles,

their vistas and parterres,
immaculate angles and rounds
we wandered, but I lost the book

where I sketched those beds.
Here in the middle
of my middle age, I desire

meadow under my feet,
orchard through my window—and if
my body is the garden

I’ve let go to seed,
may I tend it so gently
that spaces open up

for watching the weather,
for sunrise, snow, and finches—yes,
for a brook, the grasses climbing

tall in all their varieties,
and in there we could dwell
not needing the names of things.

Joannie Stangeland

is the author of several collections, most recently The Scene You See (Ravenna Press). Her poems have appeared in the Worcester Review, Meridian, Pedestal Magazine, Whale Road Review, The MacGuffin, and other journals. She holds an MFA from the Rainier Writing Workshop.