The Patience of a Gardener

Zen and the Art of Gardening


What better training for meditation

Than training vines along a trellis,

Winding each tendril through the

Frame, gently threading the trails

Under other branches to dangle

Just enough in the sun to shoot more,

The stems too short enforce a wait:

Patience until they can be tucked in,

Behind a stronger stick, weeks or longer

But soon, after some years, just, fronds

Hide the structure; lost like thoughts

Through the training, green grace gaining.


Acceptance of constraints and learning

Yet, for every yin a yang and yearning

To grow we know some still unable

To conceive the concept of what a

Plant implies, portents to be, and see

The straining ungainly, slicing at green

With a pair of shears, wreaking

Destruction tsunami like, leaving

Tender tendrils to push forth once

Again, taking time to train, regain

The sense of self through restraint.



The idea is to make this concrete retaining wall disappear beneath ivy and honeysuckle. Somebody with a shears thinks that the best way is to cut back the new growth to stimulate more growth…

it’s an ongoing situation. Time is hopefully on my side…


The Man with the Shears


Seems the man with the shears will always win…


We coax and encourage fronds to sprout forth,

Watching, enjoying each tiny new leaf burst

In a verdant self-creating sculpture, we wonder

What shapes it will take as we wait while it grows


Doing our best to protect from frost, but we know

The pruner needs pounce only once a year

Undoing all our efforts with his sharpened shears,


And we must go back to coaxing, and just hoping

The trunk grows a little stronger in between setbacks,

Each year more resistant to withstand these attacks.







About davidjmobrien

Writer, ecologist and teacher

Posted on August 13, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: