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James Tate - The Definition of Gardening

Jim just loves to garden, yes he does. 
He likes nothing better than to put on 
his little overalls and his straw hat. 
He says, "Let's go get those tools, Jim." 
But then doubt begins to set in.
He says, "What is a garden, anyway?"
And thoughts about a "modernistic" garden
begin to trouble him, eat away at his resolve. 
He stands in the driveway a long time. 
"Horticulture is a groping in the dark 
into the obscure and unfamiliar, 
kneeling before a disinterested secret, 
slapping it, punching it like a Chinese puzzle,
birdbrained babbling gibberish, dig and
destroy, pull out and apply salt, 
hoe and spray, before it spreads, burn roots, 
where not desired, with gloved hands, poisonous, 
the self-sacrifice of it, the self-love, 
into the interior, thunderclap, excruciating, 
through the nose, the earsplitting necrology 
of it, the withering, shrivelling, 
the handy hose holder and Persian insect powder 
and smut fungi, the enemies of the iris, 
wireworms are worse than their parents, 
there is no way out, flowers as big as heads, 
pock-marked, disfigured, blinking insolently 
at me, the me who so loves to garden 
because it prevents the heaving of the ground 
and the untimely death of porch furniture, 
and dark, murky days in a large city 
and the dream home under a permanent storm 
is also a factor to keep in mind."

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Poet: James Tate
Poem: The Definition of Gardening
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