By Scott Cairns (1954— )
A little loam and topsoil
is a lot.
|Photo credit: ronmerk from morguefile.com|
A vacant lot, maybe, but even such lit vacancy
as interstate motels announce can look, well, pretty
damned inviting after a long day’s drive, especially
if the day has been oppressed by manic truckers, detours,
endless road construction. And this poorly measured, semi-
rectangle, projected and plotted with the familiar
little flags upon a spread of neglected terra firma
also offers brief apprehension, which—let’s face it,
whether pleasing or encumbered by anxiety—dwells
luxuriously in potential. Me? Well, I like
a little space between shopping malls, and while this one may
never come to be much of a garden, once we rip
the old tires from the brambles and bag the trash, we might
just glimpse the lot we meant, the lot we hoped to find.
Source: Philokalia: New and Selected Poems (Zoo Press, 2002)
As a country girl who has put down roots in an urban area, this piece resonates with me. Even a small patch of nature "dwells luxuriously in potential" --potential to bring a bit of beauty and respite for the weary, nature-hungry soul. I like that Cairns uses poetry to look past the now of "old tires," "brambles" and "trash" to see a glimpse of possible garden space. The transformative power of the imagination makes a little patch of littered land into "a lot"--in more sense than one, encouraging the reader to expand application to other wrecked spaces, be they landscapes or relationships.
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