The Gardener asks for Wonder

“Never once in my life did I ask God 

for success or wisdom or power or fame.

I asked for wonder, 

and he gave it to me.”Abraham Joshua Heschel

Knee-deep in a prie-dieu of compost,

I asked for wonder,
and pledged my attention,
hoping to lose
thought of myself
in the prayer of planting (for
both are acts of hope)—

seedlings sliding like prayer beads
through my hands what was once
a ditch-side rogue’s gallery elevated
to rockstar status in repair of the Earth:
Joe Pye weed, bergamot, Indian
blanket, rue, aster, true blue
wild indigo, lead plant, blazing star,
columbine, Queen Anne’s lace,
even lowly clover and thistle.
Turn, turn, turn; the time to pluck up is gone;
the time to plant our purpose under heaven.

To feel the thrum of life beneath my feet,
human rooted in humus
as in the beginning–
almost like stumbling across
God perambulating in an evening garden
leaving behind dewy footprints fresh from bestriding
the sea, pacing off its measure in refutation of Job;

To hear the ethereal
music of hillside pine needle overhead
propelled by wind, the choir
of hummingbird and song sparrow bobbing
on risers of redbud to the overture of offstage thunder.

But now it has
come down to this:

God answers through
a single brave
monarch butterfly
fluttering by, the first
of the season (enticed by
suburban crewcut

lawns surrendered
and sacrificed as altars
to milkweed), and by the once-
quotidian honeybee delicately
and now heroically paying homage,
sending salvations of salvia and soybeans nodding, merely
feeding a planet…

and we rejoice at the sight, remembering
when we fools thought them
common
as a comma.

Here is our hope on the wing.

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