GARDEN ON AN ALIEN STAR SYSTEM
NEWS!! These poems have been published in a new book from Finishing Line Press. It is titled Garden On An Alien Star System. "Rose of Sorrows" is awarded Honorable Mention by the National League of American Pen Women. Many of the individual poems have already been published. This is a collection of intimate garden poetry, I feel. The poems are inspired by the odd mix of nature, nurture, and confusing desires and terrors that we humans seem to be barely aware of. Of course, many of these thoughts appear in my mind as I work with the wonder that is the soil, that is the garden. Watch this page for more poetry excerpts. Exactly how I edited one of these poems is outlined on the "Writing Tips" page. My photos are copyright. -Judith
ROSE OF SORROWS
Her thin arm beckoned from a threadworn coat of no distinct colour, while the soft rain fell as a blessing over all, blurring the torn and whole together into a gentle bath of tender hues tinged with a sort of silveriness whenever the sun briefly glowed. Her blue-veined hand offered every passerby the stump of a garish pink bouquet of rose buds: "Please, please buy a rose!" she called against the damp breeze. Thus was the Rose of Sorrows bought then hurried home to a warm bright room; there under the brilliant bulb an unforgiving truth was exposed both bitter and harsh. On inspection, each pink bud revealed itself as not a bud at all, but merely an old, almost withered flower. Someone, the sad rose seller or perhaps a pandering lover, had carefully coiled a fine wire tightly around attempting to shape it into a new rose; to prevent the bruised petals from falling to their natural end on the earth. Each of the flowers tested not really pink but were a crispy-edged brown that had been dyed the gaudiest pink, not out of bad taste but merely to better conceal the death of petals. O yes, the heavy odour had been a deliberate squirt of fulsome drugstore concoction. Great history of beauty, romance, even the extended exacting arts of horticulturists brought down to this pathetic masquerade! Expectations of youth and beauty end with senility and dust. The wonder is: who has the deepest pain, the seller, the buyer, or the rose? Destinies intermingle for those who consort within the World of the Rose.
©Copyright 2009-2020, by Judith Cody, all right reserved. Published in Judith's book, Garden On An Alien Star System. Awarded Honorable Mention from the National League of American Pen Women. Published in RiverSedge, and in Ginosko, Also published in Arabesques Review.
From another manuscript in progress:
THE OLD MAN AND THE MOON
La Luna glowers into the old man’s garden two hundred forty thousand
Miles beneath her immaculate white perfection
(Minutely pocked with astronaut’s footprints).
“O you silly, stupid man. You struggle, wiggle, flap your withered wings
Like a bird tied to a stick. Watching your little agonies,
I am amused.” (She is fond of the letter “O’s” roundness.)
The ancient gardener gathered his crop of roses, herbs, rare tea
That grew in no other place. Yes, the tea helps him hear what words
La Luna hollers down into his garden where the ground trembles
With the heat of fecundity, uninterrupted cycles of moist growth.
Verdant entanglements quickly ascend from newly warmed soil
Each pointed plant tip pokes from the fresh tilled earth
Aims itself toward sky, sun, and the gardener’s dirt-etched hands.
Sickle and man: each curl inward toward a secret when lunar light violates
Their green solitude. Perfect sphere of frosted light probes
Everywhere for the man, who strokes the sickle
Burnished from labours of grandfathers
Buried in places erased from maps, outlined before memory.
“O yes, you old, broken man I will shine on your grave stone. Soon.”
Next night, at moon-rise his ancient blade stabs La Luna’s flank.
At dawn the man still wrestles until he falls, blood nourishes his earth,
Each twilight the battle begins, abates when the new sun arrives,
The ancient gardener gasps, he prays for life enough, strength enough
To quell the lunatic planetoid that encircles him with her cruel gaze.
Under the falling shades of night the old man sees leering La Luna shrink
Under the edge of his sickle as he hacks until his chest throbs with pain,
His arms grow weak, even devils gnaw to the bone of his heart arm
Sweat coats his body cabled with heaving sinews
Fashioned by a lifetime of creating his garden.
Some said, that it was an ancient sea they saw, but the old man heard her laugh.
La Luna fugitiva presents a sly grin to the old man’s struggle with
The stuff of the planet that grips her in its heavy grasp.
“My eternal radiance will illuminate your putrefying bones. You are a thing called
Meat; this thing that is a revolting entity unknown to me. O, yes. O, so true.”
High, high, flew the sickle, slicing into the lunar belly. Ahee, screams
The old man to the sheltering shadows. Darkness caresses his face.
Feeling his way he digs deep, panting, awakes a crazed spirit
Inside of him. When the sun comes up he buries shimmering crescents
Hacked from his fat-faced tormentress. Earth glows there where
He inters the broken-faced one.
Near ending, cut away the smirking moon-face night by night,
Now a pale, sickle-like slice floats overhead where once her ocean
Eyes froze upon the ancient male. But now, the old man’s garden
Blooms ferociously, fed by cool moon flames. His Green Empress
Sprawls beneath the Solar disk, cajoles him to cultivate her luxuriant soil
Instructs him in the intimacies of her Plant Kingdom.
She knows his hungers well.
Published in The Madison Review
©Copyright 2007-2009, Judith Cody, all rights reserved
SILVER ROSE OF THE SEA
Her hand brushed the waves
Parting them for the hundredth time
Searching for him,
For shadows of promise:
Grey turbulent sea
Revealed no image
Blank darkness reflected
Only her disconsolate self.
Decades later after the years
Ceased their fixed distress, she
Sought an answer from the sea
Seeking one last evening tide
To recall his face. Then she saw
Beneath moon-shimmered waves,
The Silver Rose, radiant,
but farther than the fullest
breath of air might take her.
She knew at once
An answer to her primal grief.
Whispering waters enveloped
Her diving form, like an ancient
Embrace almost forgotten. Moonlight
Flickered on the surface of the sea
High above her head, swift
As an ocean being her arms arched,
Aimed her plunge down into deep
And darkening dreams where
She could reach the Silver Rose.
© Copyright 2007 -2020, by Judith Cody, all rights reserved. Published in Judith's book Garden On An Alien Star System. Published abroad in Arabesques Review
JUST A FEW DOZEN PLEASE
All's well with armfuls of
Weighty long-legged roses.
Worldly things feel wonderful
When dozens of robust red roses
Have been flung into my arms
Joining me by surprise
Like a celebrity boyfriend
Who is cooing, "You're beautiful. Uh huh!"
© Copyright 2007, by Judith Cody, all rights reserved
SILENCE. STRUGGLE. SALVATION.
Crash in the rose garden. Crash. Crash. Crash.
Suddenly a full petaled wide open Tea Rose
Known as Mr. Lincoln, let go of most of
Its immense maroon, elderly petals (this all at once)
Sending them fluttering helplessly to the bare
Ground, some of them struck a furtive Brown Towhee
Who was scratching noisily at the base of the shrub
For a few errant earwigs who normally rest in the day,
But now must fight wiggle for their lives (though lost)
For a second, now the descending cascade of petals distracted
The disheveled bird allowing the exposed insects
To escape (this afternoon).
Published in Judith's book Garden On An Alien Star System. Published in Phantasmagoria journal
©copyright 2007-2020 by Judith Cody, all rights reserved
ODE TO THE FLOWER OF TODAY
Having no feet you race across
The garden to me on a breeze
Wafting your fresh bloomed perfume
You tempt me to rest beside your
New and brilliant beauty.
Knowing that it will vanish
That my eyes
Will be the solitary
Observer of your
In the fleeting sunshine
I am compelled to
Remain beside you.
Published in RiverSedge. Also published in Westview.
©copyright 2007 by Judith Cody, all rights reserved
PLANET UNDER THE DECK
Under the plank deck, slugs, snails
Living some sort of destiny
Not unlike our own it seems
Simple little travesty
On billions of humans evolved
Over struggling eons
Millions of mysteries dissolved
Within our moist neurons
Getting the great picture clear
Enough to find sustenance
For flesh but nothing to keep fear
Of dark, of death at abeyance.
published in Central California Poetry Journal
©copyright 2006 by Judith Cody, all rights reserved