The Gardener’s Lament: A Writer Wednesday Post

April 9th, 2014 | Posted by Irene in Poetry

PeasePeas on Earth, photo © Irene O’Garden 2014, poem © John Pielmeier, 2014

To listen to this post, please click here:The Gardener’s Lament

(Apologies for the missing apostrophe above–Wordpress will not let me put it in, despite my particular personal affection for that bit of punctuation!)

How happy I am to plant this timely guest post before you today, written by the literarily nimble John Pielmeier! While known to most of the world as a dramatist and screenwriter, he is also a delightful poet, as you soon shall see–

(Full disclosure: I am myself the wife to whom he refers.)


Starting on the Ides of March

I have seen my poor wife arch

Her greening brows, begin to plan

Precisely where to plant her can-

teloupes, tomatoes, peas and corn,

Rhubarb, lettuce, Plenty’s Horn.

April brings the seeds a-sprouting

In our kitchen, stemlings mounting

Up our dining rooms bare walls

In our living room and halls,

Bathtub filled with greening babies—

Future yeses, no’s and maybe’s.

May’s the time to plant and crack

The earthen beds and break your back

By heaving tons of sod or mulch or

Some such boons to horticulture.

June—our growing babes are prey

To bugs and slugs; Cocoons of May

Have sprouted into caterpillars;

My wife and I—the June bug killers—

Forgot to spray the tree for leeches—

Whoops! Too bad, we lost the peaches.

Come July the currants red

Are calling us from early bed

To pick and pick and pick and pick

And pick and pick til we grow sick

Of picking. Lo! No end in sight.

It’s time to pray for currant blight.

In August-time the corn is high

As–well—a tallish midget’s eye.

The sun’s been hot—a fierce attack—

And all that’s green has turned to black.

But never fear! My lovely mate is

Overburdened with tomatoes.

September’s crop is fit to burst—

Too bad the deer have got it first.

October’s time to plow it under,

Dream of next year’s harvest plunder,

Calculate the season’s fee—

A dollar-ninety-eight a pea!

For tho’ the snows sift white and deeper,

Winter’s veggies sure are cheaper.

Begging all your green thumb’s pardon,

I bid farewell to this year’s garden,

While ordering Burpee o’er the phone.

There’s nothing like a grow-your-own.



How does your garden grow?


If you find yourself in Beacon NY on Friday night May 2, I will be a featured poet at the Howland Center at 8pm–I’ll be reading some of my newest work. Hope to see you there!

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  • Sheila Fisher

    This is such a wonderful piece, and a neat riff on the Anglo-Saxon “The Wife’s Lament” from a different and much more light-hearted perspective. Some very clever couplets going on here! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • IreneOGarden

      Warm thanks, Sheila! I know you are an expert on this, so John will be very pleased!

      • Sheila Fisher

        And how can your garden not flourish in the presence of such fertile imaginations!? Hope your crop is a fine one!

  • Paul

    Haha! Thank you, John and Irene.

    • IreneOGarden

      You’re so welcome, Paul!

  • Angela Sparks

    Charming! Bravo, John!

    • IreneOGarden

      Thanks, Angela!

  • Laura

    I wish I was you…or a bulb in your garden

    • IreneOGarden

      You’re a very light on the landscape, Laura!

  • Cass

    Love it. Mmakes me wish I was planning my planting this year, bugs, slugs and all!

  • Mj Martin

    Wonderful! What a talented duo you and John are!

  • Grace

    “Sod or much or … Horticulture ” will never be the same!
    You definitely dabble in the soil arts…

  • Ann

    A total riot! Like a garden in August after the best of summers-_abundant and rioch!

  • Scott

    Oh, the leeches got the peaches. I think all the gardeners in the world will feel an understanding poet is thinking of them in this poem. What a wonderful cycle of hope, reality, and the miracle of the indefatigable gardener.

    • IreneOGarden

      Thanks, Scott! Your gardens of music are always a pleasure to wander through–

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