I recently planted a swamp milkweed

There is a small garden 
In my front yard, out near the street, and 
That’s where I decided to put it

When I consider what has taken place 
And what is to come
Those biological processes
I find myself in water just a bit over my head

At one time there was a seed 
There was soil, moisture
Sunlight, the right temperature and a 
Miracle that brought the plant to me

Then I brought it to that place 
That small garden in my front yard 
Out near the street
Where I decided to put it

Days have passed and still the plant lives  
Myriad variables falling within a certain range
A range that allows and sustains life
The life of that plant 

That swamp milkweed that lives or dies
Regardless of my decisions
That plant in the small garden 
In my front yard, out near the street

15 thoughts on “Complexity”

  1. I love how the phrase, “small garden
    In my front yard, out near the street” bookends your poem, giving it structure – the perfect parameters for the words bloom within.
    I think we ‘met’ in the Teach Write workshop, no?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bridget! Yes, I believe we did meet in the Teach Write workshop. If I’m not mistaken, you’re in Switzerland. I’ve thought of your country often since it was brought to my mind the other day–absolutely beautiful! I appreciate your comments on my poem–they mean a lot to me.


  2. I love the contrast between your plans (“where I decided to put it”) and the mystery of growing that you can’t control. I’ve thought about that idea a lot as a metaphor for teaching. I do all I can to make it happen, but the learning is mysterious and out of sight. Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ruth. I like your idea: The growth of a plant is a good metaphor for teaching. We do our best to set the conditions, but the learning is indeed “mysterious and out of sight.”


  3. Oh, this is…strange and wonderful. Feels almost like a touch of magical realism somehow. The mostly ordinary and matter-of-fact language used with a wondering and slightly stilted phrasing conjures up something more than just this one scene.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laura, for reading and for your comments. The growth of a plant has a magical element to it and lends itself oh-so-well to poetry. Thank you again for hosting this week!


  4. It’s amazing to observe nature doing its thing with — in spite of? — us. For me today, it was noticing that some seeds from the watermelon I was eating for lunch were sprouting roots. Those are getting tossed into the garden. Maybe there will be plants next year, maybe not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nature is, indeed, amazing to observe! I always laugh when I find sprouting seeds in a watermelon. Growing up, my grandfather had me convinced they would grow in my stomach if I ate them. To the best of my knowledge, they never did. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your garden!


  5. I love this line: “Myriad variables falling within a certain range.” It captures all that brought that swamp milkweed into being. I’m fascinated by the potential of a seed and the wonder of plants growing. Fingers crossed that “your” milkweed thrives in its new setting.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love this poem, Tim! Could I use it when I talk about the plant life cycle with students or when I teach about milkweed (to the right audience, of course!)? Life cycle science is amazing. You are right, there are so many variables that need to fall into place to have the seed germinate, grow, and produce a flower and more seeds. I use the phrase seed to seed when I talk about the annual life cycles of plants. Pumpkins are one of my favorite plants to use to demonstrate that cycle. Milkweed, however, is one of my most favorite plants ever! And, swamp milkweed has such pretty flowers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, of course you can use it–I’m thrilled that it’s of value to you! One of the things I’d like to pursue is writing poetry about the different science topics I teach. I don’t do well when I’m asked (by myself, usually) to write on a specific theme, but I think I might need to learn.

      Liked by 1 person

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