Living with Omnibenevolence

Each one of us is furnished with an expiration date,
And no one living has the power to elude his fate.
There comes a time when every living creature has to die,
But some will rest beneath the earth, and others in the sky.
The latter seems more glorious, but who are we to judge
Decisions made by deities that love us overmuch?
While angels gather round the throne of He who rightly made us,
Our own devotional observances are on hiatus.
The workings of the universe continue to distract us
Because acceptance of what is is not our normal practice.


Botanical Latin

When I make up my mind to study nature,
I’m not the dullest student in the class.
My specialty’s botanic nomenclature,
And not too many gardeners can surpass

Me when it comes to citing proper names
Of plants. We have Picea, Acer, Quercus,
And Pinus, quite enough to kindle flames
In any hearth and counter chills that irk us.

But when it comes to prepossessing flowers,
Boltonia, Chrysanthemum, and Aster
Inhabit our reflective autumn hours.
The lack of these would spell complete disaster

For any florist worthy of her salt.
In summer, Echinacea rules the roost,
Along with Rosa, whom we all exalt,
As Vitis and Fragaria are juiced.

And when we look to useful fragrant herbs,
Ocimum, Thymus, and Origanum
Perform as active culinary verbs
That liven up our meals till Kingdom come.

But let us not forget the many grasses
Aside from those that constitute a lawn:
Miscanthus and Phalaris are the lasses
That beautify a cold November dawn.


C.B. Anderson was the longtime gardener for the PBS television series, The Victory Garden.  Hundreds of his poems have appeared in scores of print and electronic journals out of North America, Great Britain, Ireland, Austria, Australia and India.  His collection, Mortal Soup and the Blue Yonder was published in 2013 by White Violet Press.

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8 Responses

  1. James A. Tweedie

    “And let us not forget the many grasses . . .” lol! I was just looking at my late winter lawn and wishing the landscaper had seeded it with a variety that didn’t require me to thatch it every spring! As always, your verse is lovely, witty and oft-times wise.
    Thanks, C.B.

    • C.B. Anderson

      Dear James,

      It’s a well-known fact that lawns tend to be ecological disaster zones –the epitome of monoculture. I commiserate with with your dismay upon viewing the accumulated winter thatch that scars your lawn. Come spring, you may feed it and weed it, but growing ornamental grasses comes with its own constellation of attendant woes. If this were a horticultural site and not a poetry website, then I could expand in great detail. But nonetheless, I’m glad I tickled your pique.

  2. David Watt

    I enjoyed reading these skillfully written poems . The epizeuxis in ‘Living with Omnibenevolence’ caught my eye as an interesting effect.

    • C.B. Anderson


      I had to look it up. But what is the instance of epizeuxis to which you adverted. I could find no repetition of words or phrases. You can’t mean “is is,” because that is just one of those rare occurrences, like “that that,” that happen now and then. I probably should have italicized “what is” to make it stand apart as a phrase that simply means “the prevailing circumstances.”

  3. David Watt

    It was “is is”, no doubt a rare occurrence. I meant that it was effective and entirely appropriate as written, even if unplanned. These words caught my attention for the preciseness they bring, and the flow they maintain.


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