Collection Agent

For several hours today, there was the perfection of all that is most Spring. It was glorious. In the freedom of response that such beauty can inspire, I went on a wander in one of my favorite outdoor places– The Farmers Market at Union Square. And, I went with an agenda…an indulgent agenda that brings me joy. I went collecting words.

Many others were present collecting bits and pieces that would transform into organic dinners whose very odors, tastes, and textures, will honor the grassy provenance of the ingredients. A mother and her young daughter went from booth to booth collecting samples of whatever was displayed on platters–from apples to “loose radishes–tops already removed!” to melon and goat cheese… and they even found broken sprigs of lavender to smell.

Another group was there to harvest photos. Photos of brashly confident root vegetables–parsnips and beets and turnips scuffed and creased with soil, leaves a bit raggedy, fully marvelous in form and color; flats of pansies grateful for a day to sail their winged petals into fresh wind; onions and potatoes so new I could imagine them blinking in the sun, amazed at the world.

But as for me… I wandered with my second notebook open, pen uncapped, delighting in the taste of the language set free in Springtime. Rununculus! Hydrangea, hyacinth, and the hong vit radish! Primula, pussywillow, Tuscan kale, cilantro! Sunchoke, Carola, LaRatte, Rose-val; Swiss chard, cippolini, butterscotch scones; narcissus, nasturtium, Italian parsely, mint; orchid, artichoke, and (my favorite) Dracaena Janet Smith, (“attractive plant; with age, resembles palm.”)

Such living poetry! Such a deliciously textured extravagance of sound!

As I wandered, I could not help but think of the contrast between the sumptuous table laid out before me and the front section of the Times that I had read this morning. Bombs, soldiers, cracks in airplane fleets, uprisings, deaths, threats, bankruptcies, regime changes…

How to hold those two realities together… desperation and decadence… an extravagance of sound and a threatening silence…

I don’t have an answer… but I have a notebook. And I will continue to make poetry as I move onward into the moments ahead.

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