Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Four Ps

The trouble with visiting a botanic garden is one returns home to regard one's own humble bit of earth with a cool eye. Well, il faut cultiver notre jardin [we must tend our own garden].

P is for poison ivy,P is for poison ivy Rhus radicans, lurking under the foundation plantings, flowering bold as you please. For reasons unknown, I have a lot this year in my (cough) garden. Biodiversity is all very well, but I don't want to let them be, I want 'em gone. My usual control is to make a targeted application of herbicide, thoroughly wetting the plant. I wait for the leaves to wither, then carefully pull the entire plant. I do not compost any part of this nasty customer.

P is for plum, the fruit of summer, its color, and the richness connoted. I love fresh plums out of hand; dried prunes too. One of my favorite free-form pies is simply pâte brisée and plum slices. A pinked edge is optional, as is a sprinkle of brown sugar. Bake and devour. Yum.

P is for poetry, especially poems celebrating plums. Here's two favorites.

          The Word Plum

     The word plum is delicious

     pout and push, luxury of
     self-love, and savoring murmur

     full in the mouth and falling
     like fruit

     taut skin
     pierced, bitten, provoked into
     juice, and tart flesh

     and reply, lip and tongue
     of pleasure.

               --Helen Chasin, 1968

          This Is Just to Say

     I have eaten
     the plums
     that were in
     the icebox

     and which
     you were probably
     for breakfast

     Forgive me
     they were delicious
     so sweet
     and so cold

               --William Carlos Williams, 1934

Not to mention the immortal

     Leaflets three –
     Let them be.

And P is for possum and polyester and paper and pineapple fiber. Thanks to BIL, I have some Cherry Tree Hill Possum Lace (sadly discontinued), made of New Zealand possum.

See the rest of my ABCs.


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