About Kathleen Ripley Leo
Kathleen Ripley Leo

The Circle is AssembledThe Old Ways

Town One South


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The Familiar
by Kathleen Ripley Leo

The untrained eye chooses the unpatterned, the trained
weeps at the gift of rose mullein from the birds, or
the shreddy invasion of columbine from the next yard.
Each rock, each leaf arranged in the garden
is an amulet weighing fresh and clean,
like lightning in the crook of clouds, so pure, so uncluttered.
Anything unfamiliar is -- so far afield, running amuck.

I do love the intact, familiar pliable dirt in which I plant
lemon thyme, or lupine, those chaste conformists.
Their wisps of multiplied root tangle in my hand trowel
as I shift them from one planned spot in the garden to another.
I move egg shaped rocks around a new bed and plant
hens and chicks between the cracks with a practiced chaos,
a serendipitous scatter intended to mimic the wild.

My distrust of weeds is lovely and comfortable,
yet I seek them out: spikes of chicory, a springy
clutch of quake grass, lamb's quarters grey-bearding
along the ledge wall, the harsh saw-tooth blades of dandelion
so like green fishbones splayed out from star leafed sweet woodruff.
I know for certain their roots live on deep underground
beneath the winter savory and foxglove. There are even
roots of pickery thistle deep in the shredded bark
next to the Austrian pines, and I, mysteriously grateful,
look each day for the tiniest green blade above the brown bark.

Kathleen Ripley Leo
(c) 2000 Leo

Other featured poems by Kathleen Ripley Leo

Pole Barn
Nawrot-Aron Poems
Where Truth Lies

Foot Massage
Flower Picture
Up, Over the Steep Hill
The Familiar
The Kiss