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!

Quizzical Squash: A Writer Wednesday Post

September 26th, 2012 | Posted by Irene in Essays - (6 Comments)

Quizzical Squash, photo and all text ©Irene O’Garden, 2012

 To listen to this post, please click here:Quizzical Squash

Home from our trip to find on the leafy vine in our nearly past-tense garden a half-my-dog-big cloudy blue Hubbard squash. Quizzical.  Knobby blue globe, swollen with summer sun and rain. A thing that almost doesn’t seem like food.  Food rarely asks an ax in preparation.

You can see how someone thought up bowling. Such a wondrous thunderous squash could rumble Rip Van Winkle skies, knock the ninepins down. Quizzical, though. How and when can this become a dish without a lumberjack to whack it? And a baseball team to eat it?

You can’t accurately at the moment call it squash, since it won’t.  Squash, that is. Not yet, anyway. Not till the mallet and cleaver reveal two seedy buckets to be scooped, till the turkey pan and the long lazy roasting turn it from its fierce formica form to a soft sweet heap.  Squash is the very endest product of itself.

Yield of my garden, I yield to the impulse to look you up, be certain of your Hubbard-ity. Yes, the images are all this smokey slatey shade. Many are wartier,  oddly ovoid or elbowed. In fact, I now appreciate my shapely one, you fat blue toy top of a squash.

But I’m not in the mood to eat squash today, and my upper body’s too fatigued to tackle it. One writer says to bag your Hubbard and to drop it on the floor. But it gave me all these words today! I have affection for it and that seems disrespectful.

I turn to Alice Waters on my shelf. She always has an answer and today she says, “A winter squash is better left to sit a few weeks after harvest.” I’ll wait for the orange of October to open this blue. Whew!

What’s cooking with you?


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