poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “garden”

so that I may speak

messing with circadian rhythms
just for the fun of it
or out of sheer boredom
a half attempt to be noticed
a shout out to the world
how nothing seems to matter

it’s as if I’m preaching third shift
& sleepwalking by day
strangers coming up to me
on crowded sidewalks
calling for autographs & saying
don’t I know you from another life

we gather at the city center
a walled garden eight blocks square
oaks & cedars providing shade
benches & flowers & fountains
adorning the pathways
growing crowd beginning to quiet

november two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one thing leads to another

let me see
let me gather my thoughts
like I gather flowers in the garden
one precise cut at a time

there is something on my mind
it lingers like a ghost
on the shady side of the garden
I sit & wait for it to edge closer

some days are easier
than others
that is widely known
and those that are not
drop hints & clues along the way
a subtle progression
that keeps me wanting more

april two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the garden reprised

we’ve done this before
making something out of thin air
whether simple words or complex webs
designed to bring us closer

the power of sleep brings forth
limitless possibilities
exposing past and future lives
such as the spider or the fly

at some point it stands to reason
why the trees have knowledge
and birds perpetuate folklore
why the snake in the green green grass
will one day be your best friend

september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

attracting butterflies

how the garden grows
in my absence

photos clicked and sent
my way via
short message service

I don’t own a device
but I can still receive

be they still or moving
or downright blossoming
it matters not

I like the bleeding hearts best
almost always first
or second to arrive
depending upon the winter

I promise I’ll be back soon
it’s only temporary
where I’ve been
or where I’m going

if memory serves me right
the tulips will be next

april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

just as you are sure to do

ice gradually melts
and ground begins to thaw
there you rest
not far from the surface
exactly where I left you
shuddering in your sleep

what you can’t see
should certainly scare you
but don’t for a moment
keep the covers over your eyes
lest you miss those self-evident
truths reflecting in the light

oh how you thought
you had massacred every aphid
that had decimated your garden
but they are alive and well
reinventing themselves
just as you are sure to do

july two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

alive and well at twenty-one

she came to visit for a few hours
on a sunday afternoon

it was a blustery but sunny day
wind chimes sounding off loud and clear
inside toasty sunroom

she got up from the sofa
holding teacup below her chin
gazing out south facing windows

“it’s a shame your garden’s dying
it was so beautiful last time I was here”

(to her everything is dying so I just let it go)

I didn’t have the heart to tell her
the garden turned twenty-one this year
and is very much alive and well

october two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it’s never too late

I’ve found myself so many times
it’s hard imagining finding myself again

in the garden everyone feasts
the bird
the butterfly
the rodent and the worm
insects and felines and canines
stamens and pistils
day lilies and night owls
tree limbs and branches hanging fruit
angels and devils and humans
shoving shovels into the ground
stirring and spawning new life

meanwhile the sun and moon
(and the season known as spring)
continue to operate like a heartbeat

june two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

garden of confusion

wind chimes chatter in the mist
varied in pitch and velocity
powered by dark winds
swirling past steel spiders

rusty fish swim by twilight
nipping at one-legged flamingo
all tucked in for the night

silent rocks in aerated streams
attract ceramic turtles and
green neon frogs
settling on that perfect spot

avian whispers segue into
full-fledged sirens
scaring the wildflowers away

april two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

time capsule crash landing

late autumn afternoon
digging into garden bed
and separating little bulbs
from big ones
I uncover a shiny emerald stone

I rub off the dirt with soiled fingers
and polish it with my shirt
kneeling and looking up
I hold it skyward past
silent clouds drifting
my eyes squinting
my mind racing

from out of this world
it came crashing
burrowing into the earth
untouched for perhaps centuries
but now my cherished treasure
if only for the shortest
moment in time

december two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

stepping stones

your garden is all grown up
said the daughter
to the old man as they
sat in front of the fire pit
listening to the wood talk

she remembered way back when
there were stepping stones
throughout the garden
and she would jump from one stone
to the next like you would
playing hopscotch

the stones were still there
camouflaged beneath the jungle
barely noticeable amongst the greenery
blossoming a spectrum of colors
rainbows inspired to imitate

do you remember
when we put in the stepping stones
asked the old man

yes I do
answered the daughter
I was just thinking about that

june two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Springtime in Russia

The six-month winter miraculously
segues into a psychedelic fever
of blossoming apple trees
and awakening white birches
as white-fronted geese
flock along an endless sky
painted robin’s-egg blue.

Outside the city garden plots
become reacquainted
with agrarian hands skilled
from generation’s past
furiously planting and artfully
nurturing all that is necessary
to survive the next winter.

january two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


i sit in the garden of good
and evil
and wonder if i’ve witnessed

the quiet and beauty
of the garden
stands in dark contrast
to the cruel corners
of a violent

i sometimes wonder
how the sunrise
will hit the acropolis
a thousand years from now
wonder in what way
i’ll be able to archive it
and recall it
again and again

(i’ve witnessed the birth
and near drowning death
of a child
only to be brought back to life
by a breath
i never knew existed)

as i sit in the garden
i understand there is more
to accomplish
on the other side of the hill
understand there will always be more
on the other side
where the fish jump
and the mountains climb
where promises sometimes
fall short
and recklessness
is always welcome

just like sound is neither
past nor present
there is no more tomorrow
there is only the garden

december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


I entered the world
like a flower blooming
an experience blocked
from a memory dying
to understand
how the subliminal past
led me to this time
where I beget the pistil
and the petal

’embryo’ youtube video

november two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


i’m borrowing this rock
i keep in my pocket
uncovered years ago
when starting the garden

i washed it off
in the birdbath
dirtying the water
and giving it new life
for however long i can

july two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Season After Season

The garden beds never existed
twenty years ago where a sloping
hill begged to be cut into by an old man
in a bobcat, while younger men

With shovels and levels laid stone blocks
across the yard with precision
and speed, like a kid building
a lego wall for the umpteenth time.

As youngsters we ran carefully through
the new garden, leaping on one stone
circle after another placed in no
particular pattern by my father,

While in between young flowering plants
and herbs and shrubs learned
to adapt and prosper in the rich soil.
Season after season my father

Experimented in the garden,
purchasing deer resistant perennials
from the nursery, using his spade
to plant the new and rearrange

The old, pruning in the Spring
and deadheading in the fall,
raising them as if they were
his second set of children.

In midsummer we visit with our own
little ones who love to hop through
the fully mature garden, abloom
in shades of red and green,

Yellow and purple, blue and orange,
with barely enough room
for anything new, still babied
by the man who raised them so strong.

june two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The Varmint

I spied a creature in the garden,
Its ugly legs and furry body
Not fooling anyone; its soundless
Maneuvers and cunning eyes
Giving me total recall
Of so many cowards.

After an unsettling night of rest,
I found myself in the garden,
Inspecting the damage the varmint
Had done: the imprints and droppings,
Stolen leaves and cigarette butts.
The son-of-a-bitch even etched
The emoticon semicolon pee
Right in the dirt!

For nights I scoured the web,
Matching footprints and scents
That plagued so many others,
Narrowing it down to a few
Who could be so clever,
Who could sneak into the house
And take sips of hummingbird nectar
Stored in the refrigerator door;
Help himself to a bottle of Bud.

What a scarecrow he would make
Once bagged and properly dressed;
What a lesson he could teach
His pathetic relations when impaled
So prominently between the lettuce
And purple phlox, the snide smile
Remaining on his face.

two thousand nine
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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