by May Sarton
from A Private Mythology. © W.W. Norton & Co.
True gardeners cannot bear a glove
Between the sure touch and the tender root,
Must let their hands grow knotted as they move
With a rough sensitivity about
Under the earth, between the rock and shoot,
Never to bruise or wound the hidden fruit.
And so I watched my mother's hands grow scarred,
She who could heal the wounded plant or friend
With the same vulnerable yet rigorous love;
I minded once to see her beauty gnarled,
But now her truth is given me to live,
As I learn for myself we must be hard
To move among the tender with an open hand,
And to stay sensitive up to the end
Pay with some toughness for a gentle world.
It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening.
You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not.
~ W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman, Garden Rubbish