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(6th August,1945 / Melbourne, Australia)

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! ! Dirt Under the Fingernails

I'd ignored the garden
while you were mending.
Even thought of moving
somewhere smaller...

Hardly felt the scorch
of summer's heat -
(except during the firestorm)
and Monet's autumn palette
lay unnoticed.

But as winter wrapped the house in mist
and you sat once more
in the driver's seat of your recovery,
I donned my Redbacks* and gloves,
and began on the onion-weed.

What an earthy way to scratch the creative itch!
What a perfect blend of violence and nurturing.
What a singular chance to grunt and strain,
to coax and cajole
again and again.

As time and order grow,
so I become more ruthless,
attacking fatter and fatter branches;
Till the woodpile doubles and trebles in size
and my face is flaming.

Now spring blossoms,
and I walk on new paths,
breathing change into my lungs.
The familiar star of anticipation
twinkles within me.

Today is raining
and yesterday's camellias
are settling happily into their new homes.

I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

*A brand of workboots made in Australia.

Submitted: Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Edited: Saturday, September 26, 2009

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Comments about this poem (! ! Mother's Last Mothers Day by Alison Cassidy )

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  • Bob Blackwell (9/29/2009 9:56:00 AM)

    Alison, your hard winters toil pays you back with a splendid blossomed spring.
    Spring here too, so many blossoms and flowers giving off their toxic scent it is very hard to breathe. But what a lovely sight. A very lovely poem, has a lesson too. love Bob

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  • Brian Taylor (9/29/2009 3:18:00 AM)

    This is good.

  • Karin Anderson (sorry can't vote or comment) . (9/21/2009 1:57:00 AM)

    Alison, thank goodness for your explanation about the boots. I was getting worried about you with a red back lurking inside them. 'What a way to scratch the creative the end of this stanza is wonderful and what a strong woman you are with your green thumb. Your flaming face, Spring blossoms and rain on camellias are gorgeous images. 10 love Karin

  • Reshma Ramesh (9/17/2009 9:41:00 AM)

    dear alison........
    it has been so long since i read you, this one was a pleasure to read as always.
    thanks for sharing.

  • Naseer Ahmed Nasir (9/16/2009 10:00:00 PM)

    A beautiful poem, the first one I read this morning. Certainly my day is going to be a creative one. This poem has a lot of enthusiasm of life, love and understanding and at the same time it is so heart dissolving that a person like me could hardly stop his eyes to be wet. It seems like raining in my heart. The title itself is so meaningful that it almost drags the reader to the core of the poem. I think this is the most precious in your poetry-yard.


  • Sandra Fowler (9/16/2009 9:56:00 PM)

    Another Alison original rich with her charm.
    Today and tomorrow may your garden
    bring you joy.10/10.



  • Nimal Dunuhinga (9/16/2009 11:41:00 AM)

    What a wonderful garden? And I see Alison walks here & there with a singsong, Though Jerry wasn't a gardener he whistles to your magical song it seems? Let bloom the flowers of happiness in your beautiful garden!

  • Patrick A. Martin (9/15/2009 9:10:00 PM)

    Oh! There you are. Should have known I'd catch up with you in the garden. I loved this one Alli but you know me if there is some place to hide you'll find me in the garden.
    Paddy 10

  • ~ Jon London ~ (9/15/2009 9:07:00 PM)

    Alison is such a pleasure to read your remarkable poetry, you always find such a beautiful relaxing tone to your's a wonderfully composed piece...10+++

  • Sonya Florentino (9/15/2009 8:16:00 PM)

    beautiful Alison.....i can see how tending a garden can be like clearing one's life (or soul) has to dig deep, one has to throw away stuff, one has to make sure there's enough room for growing....

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