by Alex Norelli—
I was originally going to go to the New York Botanical garden and see the well-publicized Japanese Maples, but fall hadn’t come around enough yet to ensure a harrowing variety of color. So I decided to head south to a curvy sliver of land between downtown skyscrapers and a view of the statue of liberty, the Battery Conservancy Gardens.
I heard from a friend that the large swaths of perennials (many native) were something to see…and to add to the old America feel there was even a wild turkey meandering around, the first time I’d see the species in Manhattan.
The little poem that follows resulted from my first experiences with this garden. I made sure to let whatever caught my eye hold onto it, and whatever caught my ear to flow into it longer than usual. The form is a Haibun, which is a section of prose followed by a haiku.
The Talking Garden
The grasses have one thing to say, the asters another, and the air does not speak, I do. And likewise, the wind is silent while amsonia is always about to or to just have spoken, as the sedum, speaking so softly—you can’t help hear the bee.
The anemones graft me to the bottom of the sea, among the humbler corals of blooming happenstance. Maidenhair: the smell of approaching the beach when low tide has left an aromatic path of surrenders,
and I do not blame the dry grass, or the gardener who planted it, or the cloud that swept over it without proffering its rain. Without leaf, reed, or tongue the wind is silent.
Sea oats flicker
and flounce, shivering
in fall’s first air.