Kneeling in the Garden on a Rainy Morning

“Whose weeds are these?” I ask a sparrow.
Guess I’ll get out my trowel and wheelbarrow
Though my arthritic knees are killing me
And my fingers ache down to their marrow.

This tiny bird must think it strange
That I his garden rearrange.
Since he doesn’t view these plants as pests,
Does he even notice the rain?

He leaps on the fence for better view
of my artful dislodging around the bamboo,
Yet with capable beak he refuses to dig;
Not one dandelion or pigweed does he pursue.

A garden, with LABOR, will yield broccoli and kale
If the weeds don’t take over. “Not another!” I wail,
With hours to go before I can bail,
With hours to go before I can bail.

Day 8!  Only 22 to go!  Viva NaPoWriMo! Today, the optional prompt was to re-write a famous poem giving it our own spin. I left it up to fate, closed my eyes, grabbed a random book from my poetry shelves and, still without looking, opened to a page, any page. Voila! it was Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” on page 25 of Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. Here’s the original:

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

14 thoughts on “Kneeling in the Garden on a Rainy Morning

  1. I like your work very much. Your sense of place and that of the sparrow are superb. You are in touch with the things that matter, even our aching joints.


  2. Fun interpretation! One thing I’ve always liked about “Snowy Evening” is that the third line always introduces the next end-rhymes in the one to follow. (E.g., “here” in line 3 sets you up for “queer,” “near” and “year” in the next stanza and so forth.)

    Anyway, looks like you’re getting well into NaPoWriMo. 🙂


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