Our Garden by
(27 Stories)

Prompted By The Garden

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Our Garden

You, the ruthless pruner,

who fears not the bend of limb and tearing of tissue

Somehow reflect a greater faith in the Divine plan

and the blooming of Life.


Me, the timid intruder,

who observes and reveres

the struggle to survive-

Ever too aware of the pain and trials

of growth and death.


We, the pair of gardeners

of internal and external motion,

Coming from such distant points

to join our endeavors.


You, the total acceptor of what is,

Expectation unfolds at turns and corners

Me, the dreamer of what could be

Surrenders not to the current vision


We, the polar ends in this magnet,

pull toward each other’s infinite truth

And repel each other’s wounded, flawed illusions


You, the receiver of given,

the demander of focus,

Sees that stability

is not a symptom of health

Me, the treasurer of wonder,

the follower of intuition,

Hears the forever yearning

in all things,

living and not


We, the learners of Now,

the rememberers of Then,

the discoverers of Yet,

Can sometimes see and hear

beyond our bodies,

and other times become blind and deaf.


You, the model of detachment,

allowing no energy to be drained by other

Except the piercing my soul

does through your heart’s wall.

Me, the model of compassion,

give wisps of myself to earth

in endless thought,

Except where the strength of your soul

holds me still.


We, in the green of our peaceful garden,

nurture miracles

and grow tender sustenance

And in joining our separateness,

create vulnerability to the human part

that must fail

In order to learn,

must let go

in order to move on,

must die

in order to be reborn.



Profile photo of January Handl January Handl

Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    January, thank you for another beautiful poem. I find the opposites you describe in each stanza so interesting, starting with the ruthless pruner and the timid intruder. It surprises me that the total acceptor of what is would also be the ruthless pruner, or am I misunderstanding? I might be trying to be too logical. I love that with all your differences, you join your separateness and make your garden together.

    • My ex’s ability to go in and just have at it, is accepting that it is part of life of growth of blooming. I always hesitate to see how pruning brings fresh growth. Though we are now divorced this still feels like our roles in the world. Thank you!

  2. I read this as a metaphor that has as much to do with the complexity of a certain relationship in terms of life itself as it does with gardening, and now that I see your comment to Suzy, it appears that I read it right. Like you, I’m a reluctant pruner. Thankfully, opposites often attract; unfortunately, they also sometimes repel. Another exquisite poem, January!

  3. Marian says:

    I love the voice and balance in this poem, January. Brava!

  4. Laurie Levy says:

    I love the concept that we are divided into pruners and timid intruders, both in nature and in life. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem.

  5. John Shutkin says:

    Wonderful poem, January. I was always terrible at analyzing poems, but even I got, and much appreciated, the contrasts laid out in each stanza. And realized that they were both literally applicable to “our garden” and metaphors for larger things in your relationship. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  6. Thank you January, our wonderful Retro poet, for nurturing miracles with your words!

  7. Betsy Pfau says:

    Ah January, another amazing way to use words for insight elsewhere; into the green gardens of nature and ourselves. How our differences can be useful or divisive, can come together or pull us apart in nature and temperamentally, just as we see in the gardens we prune and let grow.

    You conjure up so much with the selection of word choices. It is such a gift. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  8. January, this poem is such a gorgeous exploration of the balance and attraction of opposites, embraced by nature’s universality. And such soft and thorny opposites they are, male and female, yin and yang, dreamlike and pragmatic that you’ve described so deeply and so equitably. It’s not easy to reach so far, with such balance, but you’ve done it here, January. Thanks!

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