Bob Findysz | Plant poems

Nana (Mentha spicata)

I could continue acquiescing as he prunes and keeps us cultivated in our assigned spaces, producing together another year of aromas, textures and tastes. But I have it in mind to let myself go to seed and spread throughout the whole herb box — sending my hungry runners through the seams in the pine walls of each cell and the cracks in the wood floor, out into the other cozy cubicles set aside for basil and chives, dill and oregano, parsley, thyme and zaatar. Left to my own devices, what mayhem my spearmint-flavored leaves would wreak on my zesty neighbors as my roots take over every clump and clod of available earth.

***

When Almonds Blossom

The heartless reign of winter
reaches midway and promises more;
but, those blinding swaths of sunshine between
grim clouds warm my branches and I awaken,
release blossoms as fragile as a snail’s shell,

punctuating hillside forests of pine
and scrub oak, floors carpeted with color:
blood red anemone and fuchsia cyclamen.
My petals will soon rain down shreds
of white, ushering in another

season with yellows and green
taking over the land.

Carnival time.

Bob Findysz was born in Chicago but moved to the suburbs before first grade. After finishing graduate work at the University of Chicago, he avoided one war zone (Vietnam) by choosing another (the Mideast). Married with three grown children and nine grandchildren, Findysz settled on a kibbutz in Israel a few decades ago and spent 40-some years teaching Israeli high school and university students English as a Foreign Language. On periodic leaves-of-absence he has explored other pursuits (from academic counseling to agriculture), traveled extensively, and studied as a way of life.

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