.

Nature at Peace

The feeder for our hummingbird.
Was torn down by a bear today.
She didn’t growl a single word
She just reached up and had her way.

And then, as if they owned the place,
Two deer sashayed across our lawn.
But when, through glass, they saw my face,
They flicked their tails and then were gone.

A short while later, on the beach,
We watched, as with its wings full-spread—
In whispered wind beyond our reach—
An eagle circled overhead

At dusk, the shadow of a mouse
In silence crossed our patio
And disappeared beneath the house
Through a small hole that led below.

And through the night I hear the dim
And distant song of surf and shore,
While in the creak of tree and limb
I hear the wind, and nothing more.

This world of hushed serenity
Which God created and enjoys,
Is badly served, it seems to me,
When all we add to it is noise.

.

.

Of Life and Gardens

By planting seeds and greenhouse sprouts
__A garden is created;
Then irrigated, lest by droughts
__The project be frustrated.

Unfertile topsoil must be fed
__With mulch, manure, and dung.
Or else the seedlings will be dead
__While vulnerably young.

And fencing, too, must be installed
__To keep out hungry deer.
And snails and slugs must be keel-hauled
__By copper wire and beer.

And under-mesh must be in place
__Lest gophers, rabbits, moles
Invade the plot and stuff their face
__While burrowing through holes.

When all the plants have spread their roots,
__Well fed by soil and sun,
The flowers, vegetables, and fruits
__Reward all that was done.

For bounteous harvests are not free,
__They come through sweat and toil;
And God provides the worm and bee
__When gardeners bless the soil.

.

.

Of Rabbits, Lettuce, and the Launde Abbey Garden

Launde Abbey is a Medieval relic with ties to Thomas Cromwell (his son his buried in the chapel). It is now affiliated with the Church of England as a retreat center.

Rabbit scurries, disappears
Underneath the garden wall.
Nibbles lettuce, reappears;
Furry, long-eared criminal.

Things like wealth and power or fame,
Fleeting treasures we hold fast.
Objects of a hunger game
Which, like lettuce, will not last.

Seek instead such things as laughter,
Joy and peace and hope and grace;
Treasures that will last long after
Lesser things have lost their place.

Faith and love? Let rabbits take them!
Though the world may think them small,
Yet the Lord will e’er remake them.
There will be enough for all.

.

.

James A. Tweedie is a retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He has written and published six novels, one collection of short stories, and three collections of poetry including Mostly Sonnets, all with Dunecrest Press. His poems have been published nationally and internationally in The Lyric, Poetry Salzburg (Austria) Review, California Quarterly, Asses of Parnassus, Lighten Up Online, Better than Starbucks, WestWard Quarterly, Society of Classical Poets, and The Chained Muse.


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11 Responses

  1. Cheryl Corey

    Very pleasant reading. I could relate to the second one, as I battle chipmunks that eat flower seeds.

    Reply
  2. C.B. Anderson

    You’ve nailed it, James. A garden is an artifact built by men that Nature does everything in its power to destroy. My own vocation as a gardener has turned me into a killer of anything that opposes my frail attempts to recreate Eden.

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      I was thinking of you as I wrote that—as well as thinking about our own garden.

      Reply
  3. Jeff Eardley

    Superbly crafted and a joy to read. To have hummingbirds, bears and deer in the garden, overseen by eagles is quite something. A most enjoyable and thoughtful trio, especially no. 3. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Norma Pain

    I loved both of these beautiful poems which just made me feel very happy. And a great photograph of the eagle above the most gorgeous frothy waves. Thank you James.

    Reply
  5. Norma Pain

    Almost missed the third poem with its very important messages. Thank you James.
    My husband spent the better part of last summer rabbit-proofing the garden so that I could grow flowers and vegetables. Such cute little annoyances!

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Cute indeed, Norma. The one pest I left out of my garden poem are the birds, which not only eat the seeds when they are planted but also eat the berries when they come to fruit. We use netting for the birds. They are all cute, of course, and we love to see them, but gardening is more than just a pleasant pastime. Sometimes, it is tantamount to war! lol

      Reply
  6. David Watt

    I relished all three of your poems James. I was particularly taken by the images of various wild animals in your first piece, and the description of God created serenity. You have your hungry deer to contend with, while we have our omnivorous possums.

    Reply
  7. Margaret Coats

    When I was a child, what I heard at night was the dim and gentle song of railroad trains, with the tracks just far enough away to render the noise peaceful. But I will heartily agree with your conclusion to “Nature at Peace.” Your little sketches there make up a wonderful collage of peace. “Of Life and Gardens” is quite a contrast, with its illustration of all the labor that goes into the harvest.

    However, I do not understand the abandoning of faith and love to rabbits in the last stanza of the third poem. The world may indeed think them small, but all the more do I consider them treasures. There is a famous Spanish poem in which the author says he will love the crucified Jesus even if there is no heaven or no hell. Are you moving in his direction?

    Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      Thanks for the comment, Margaret. On point as always! The answer to your question is not complicated. According to Jesus, faith and love are treasures “laid up in heaven” that cannot, in fact, be stolen at all. Unlike lettuces, they cannot be diminished by consuming them. In this way they are like the reference to the burning bush in the seal of the Church of Scotland: “Nec tamen consumebatur” which translates: “Yet it was not consumed.” Hence the cheeky phrase, “Let rabbits take them . . . There will be enough for all.” And I love your quote. In the 1800s it was part of the ordination vows for Presbyterian ministry wherein the candidate stated that they would faithfully serve the Lord even if they somehow became aware that they were to be damned to hell. Their service was not to be out of any self-interest but only out of acknowledgement of, and faithful response to the love of God and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

      And yes, Peter Rabbit and his Launde Abbey kin are cute, but like the little girl with the little curl on her forehead, sometimes (from our perspective as gardeners) they can be horrid, too—as Peter’s mother well-knew—“furry, long-eared criminals!”

      Reply

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