- Conservatives join New Hampshire rally in support of campaign finance reform
- 11 public housing residents complete job readiness training
- Youth health care enrollment event at NIU Rockford Jan. 29
- More than 50 employers at Jan. 29 job fair
- School district’s credit rating remains solid
- State Police seize LSD, cannabis, U.S. currency in I-80 arrest
- Park District names employee, team of the year
- A closer look at fracking for natural gas
- Susan Johnson, copy editor, moves on after 21 years
- Guest Column: Clean Water Act: Supporters of clean water must make their voices heard
Literary Hook: ‘The Bliss We Followed': Tending your garden in retirement
By Christine Swanberg
Author and Poet
As spring turns to summer, gardens gather momentum. Rockford is known as the City of Gardens, so whether you tend your own garden or enjoy the pleasures of gardens of parks and neighbors, you might recognize the birds and flora of this poem.
One of the joys of retirement is having the time to tend your own garden. Perhaps this “return to the garden” has deeper meaning than just tending the soil. Being on your knees in the garden has a spiritual significance, too.
The Bliss We Followed
The hummingbird hovers
over ruby bergamot—
soft summer dusks.
Each day another swallowtail
floats by, lands on pink cone flowers
and milk pods.
A catbird meows
behind the lilacs—spring memory,
their heady, lavender blossoms.
At the suet a downy woodpecker
the chickadee right-side-up.
We never lack for birds
here in the sanctuary garden,
where we have returned.
This must be the bliss we followed:
a garden, where I sing
evening song after dinner.
A garden where we sip
old vine Zinfandel and Primitivo
on a small deck surrounded by conifers.
Yes, this must be the bliss we followed:
a garden tumbling with Russian sage,
sprinkles and clumps of French lavender,
prairie grasses of every sort
grown round as hay stacks
spilling and exploding like fireworks.
Sparrows land on phlox.
Families of goldfinch pull out
sun flowers from feeders daily.
Saint Francis and Demeter dance
a two-step near the hostas.
Butter-and-eggs bloom on wispy stalks.
The cottage-bound cats curl,
sweet and strictly cloistered,
like Benedictine monks.
Indigo sky at night.
Venus ablaze, and always
the moon in her many corsets.
First published in Mid-America Review.
Christine Swanberg is a local author.
From the June 23-29, 2010 issue