September zuihitsu, after rain

sept roses


I went out to pick the tomatoes on the deck because last night the bears climbed the stairs to see about grapes. The grapes were already made into jelly, with thyme, but that didn’t stop the young cub from pulling down some vines, checking out the stems. They weren’t interested in the roses, heavy with rain, or the basil leaves bright with water. Who knows what they love best in darkness, no stars, and the salmon still keeping their vigil near the creek mouths, not quite ready. Who knows. You may learn to imitate a birdcall, said Rumi, but do you experience what the nightingale feels for the rose. Or what I feel when I cut their stems and bring them into my kitchen.


On Thursday I swam in the lake in September sunlight. On Friday I made a fire against the morning chill and packed my basket for the pool. You’re the diver’s clothes lying empty on the beach, Rumi reminded me as I hung my jeans on a hook in the change room. The creak of the garden gate as I checked the cabbages was one season turning into another.

persian poetry


My friend and I were exchanging news. He sent a collection of his poems with a pear tree on the cover. I made rose-petal jelly, I wrote to him, and it tastes like Persian poetry. What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest. Rumi’s lines. His garden. Mine.

5 thoughts on “September zuihitsu, after rain”

  1. There must be a story behind the gorgeous salmon pot holding your roses. What a lovely combination even without the scent which somehow disappeared over the Rockies. Could you share the name of the poet you mentioned? Thanks as always.

    1. Susan, the sonnet-writing friend is Robin Ridington. He’s an anthropologist by training.
      I don’t know if he sells the books of sonnets he publishes. But his other books, some written with his wife Jillian, are widely available and really wonderful. The salmon pot was a gift many years ago, bought by John at Ucluelet. I love the glaze and the shape of the fish. A friend made cardboard templates of their shape for me so I could use them for quilting.

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