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Monday, August 16, 2010

That's All?

(Gardener, eighteenth-century American woodcut)

The gardener must cut to encourage growth. Or, as Hamlet put it, “I must be cruel only to be kind.”


Shearing, as the gardener
snips the sucker,
controlling wild growth
with shaping hands, looking and choosing —
which bud’s to be the branch —
rooting out, cutting or pardoning
by design and scheme:
trimming pyramids, tall arches,
scissoring bowers for gods —
how I'd love doing that —
taking hold of the passionate growth
in my unmastered heart.

Slicing through wild, winding
trailers, charming
with a bright, sharp blade —
to but loosen its hold on me!

release its hold?
and must the clasper wither?
trailers, leaves, tendrils droop?
A French park, my loving?
moderation, cautious suffering?
precise forms, narrow blossoms,
the reign of geometry,
is my calmness to be a tight calmness?

Anna Hajnal (1907-1977), Hungarian poet

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