Patrick Donnelly

Hard Gardens

In October, three postcards come

from wandering friends:

a cottage on a cliff, with hollyhocks

leaning over the sea;

fat beds of lavender

resuscitated at Giverny;

the brief bluebell wood

at Brooklyn Botanic.


Why do they put these gardens upon me? 

I’ve got no lease to these rooms,

I’m too old, it’s too late,

winter is coming . . .


and the White Garden

at Sissinghurst,

the pleasure house

where I sucked on a joint

and watched the moon rise–

that whole glory-book,

its shimmer, is shut.




“Hard Gardens” is from The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003).