To Plant Plum Trees or Garlic, Do Anything, Something

In her book, American Primitive, Mary Oliver has a poem about John Chapman, who, for planting apple trees in Ohio, is known as Johnny Appleseed. Well, apparently, at some point in his life, the bottom fell out, so to speak. I quote the second half of the poem.

Well, the trees he planted or gave away
prospered and he became
the good legend, you do
what you can and if you can; whatever

the secret, and the pain,

there’s a decision: to die,
or to live, to go on
caring about something. In spring, in Ohio,
in the forests that are still left you can find
sign of him: patches
of cold white fire.

NOW, my dear reader, as part of me wants to wallow in anger and grief
over this election fiasco, I tell myself, do something, go out and
plant another plum tree, garlic, anything, something, and your
grief and anger will turn into blossoms and green shoots in spring.


About Ciletti

Jim Ciletti, an award winning poet, filmmaker, and author, is the 2010-2012, Poet Laureate of the Pikes Peak region, and for 41 years, poet-in-residence for the Orme School Fine Arts Festival. Jim gives many workshops on the writing and performance of poetry, and makes poetry house calls to create personal poetry events. Ciletti loves everything Italian, including cooking for family and friends, and loves to plant garlic, make homemade wine, and eating peaches and plums. "Everyday is Christmas, but you don't always get everything you ask for. Sometimes more. Poetry celebrates life."
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