Christ as a Gardner
“I never noticed it until they died.” /
Christ as a Gardner
The boxwoods planted in the park spelled LIVE.
I never noticed it until they died.
Before, the entwined green had smudged the word
unreadable. And when they take their own advice
again—come spring, come Easter—no one will know
a word is buried in the leaves. I love the way
that Mary thought her resurrected Lord
a gardener. It wasn’t just the broad-brimmed hat
and muddy robe that fooled her: He was that changed.
He looks across the unturned field, the riot
of unscythed grass, the smattering of wildflowers.
Before he can stop himself, he’s on his knees.
He roots up stubborn weeds, pinches the suckers,
deciding order here—what lives, what dies,
and how. But it goes deeper even than that.
His hands burn and his bare feet smolder. He longs
to lie down inside the long, dew-moist furrows
and press his pierced side and his broken forehead
into the dirt. But he’s already done it—
passed through one death and out the other side.
He laughs. He kicks his bright spade in the earth
and turns it over. Spring flashes by, then harvest.
Beneath his feet, seeds dance into the air.
They rise, and he, not noticing, ascends
on midair steppingstones of dandelion,
of milkweed, thistle, cattail, and goldenrod.
Andrew Hudgins is Humanities Distinguished Professor in English at The Ohio State University. This poem first appeared in The Never-Ending (Houghton-Mifflin, 1991). Reprinted with permission of the author.
Also in this IssueIssue 55 / August 18, 2016
- Editor's Note from August 18, 2016
Issue 55: Seeking silences, Yellowstone's extreme life, and the ironies of wildfire. /
- Traveling into Silence
A journey into two of the quietest places on earth. /
- Life in the Cauldron
Meet the hearty tenants of Yellowstone’s deadly hot springs. /
- Wildfire’s Dangerous Renewal
Awe and lessons from Peshtigo, Yellowstone, and Fort McMurray. /
- Wonder on the Web
Issue 55: Links to amazing stuff.