The greatest garden poem ever written


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I love this poem .  I wish like heck that I’d written it, but alas, I did not.  A woman named [pseudonymed, I see at Poetry‘s website] Biddy Jenkinson wrote it in Irish, and it was translated here into English by Nuala Ni Domhail.  It appeared in Poetry magazine (April 2006) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse/188/1#!/20607388

I showed it to my students, who loved it: “She’s talking back to God.  Cool!”

Eve in Her Garden in This Vale of Tears        ~Biddy Jenkinson

Accursed be the soil because of you.
With suffering shall you get your food from it
every day of your life.  —Genesis 3:17

I spend a lot of time upon my knees
serving the earth.
I sow seeds in soil.
I arrange the roots of trees in rich peat moss.
I sing “sean-nos” in chorus with
vixens, donkeys, bees, hens,
children, ravens, cows…
I understand the why and wherefore of the worm’s knot,
the warbling and the chuckling of birds.

Under my care
apples grow,
ears of oats turn blond,
hens go broody, cows seek the bull,
love puts down roots.

The drops on my brow
are sweated delight.
The child is worth the birth pang.
Life is worth its price.

I cancel out the curse of God,
defeat his greatest effort.
I grow posies of flowers
on the hobstone of hell.
Translated from the Irish by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill

 via Amy Sorenson’s blog “The English geek ” http://amysorensen.typepad.com/the_english_geek/gardening/page/2/

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