“Green, how I want you green.”

Back from a month in the Alaskan interior where dwarf spruce glowed green in 3 a.m. sunlit stillness, I walked out into our garden, which seemed so unfamiliar it might as well have been the moon. Until, that is, I remembered Federico García Lorca’s

*Verde que te quiero verde.

His words, which can also be translated as “Green, how I love you green,” jarred me as though I was recalling a powerful ancient mantra. Shocked by the verdant sprawl of grapes, wisteria and kiwis (Holy Mother of God, the kiwis had exploded into a Big Bang cosmos of their own!), I meandered through the raised beds. There, the reptilian green-black kale had been cut by insect artists into papel picado patterns that I didn’t have the heart or stomach to eat.


Aphids, those drab gray-green ones I would have squirted with soapsuds and red pepper had I been around, joyously colonized all ten cauliflowers and most of the broccoli. And then a miracle!! Our stained glass cathedral of romaine remained blissfully unassaulted by the armies of slugs still terrorizing the hosta and marigolds that, in our Pacific Northwest, substitute for sun on cloudy days.


Lorca goes on,

Verde viento. Verdes ramas.

“Green wind. Green branches.” The tomatoes rattled green against their metal cages, as did the giddy mint and still fruitless strawberries in their wooden half-barrels. The bamboo clattered and then settled down, as did I in my dilapidated garden chair with the ivy-patterned cushion, to drink green tea and sip the magic.



*Click “Romance Sonámbulo”  to read the complete text in English and Spanish of Lorca’s poem.

Image credits: “Green Lush” watercolor is by the author, as is the last photo. All other images are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.



13 thoughts on “Garden Duende

  1. “There, the reptilian green-black kale had been cut by insect artists into papel picado patterns that I didn’t have the heart or stomach to eat.” They do that, don’t they. I’ve never fancied that as works of art, but surely I will now.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the writing and language you use to communicate such holy terror you found upon your return–and the angle you used/employed to approach your own take on this slight emasculation of your sanctuary—i felt myself simultaneously transported from your backyard oasis to the majestical templates so often orchestrated by the great Lorca. Thank you for this recess, so resplendent with joy and awe–as you make it, as you gaze out at your world–our world.


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