“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway,” Michael Pollan writes. What does this intersection look like in modern times, with looming ecological disaster and technological distractions added to the age-old challenges of critters and weather? Cathie Desjardins’ poems swoop us through a year’s cycle of growth and death, beauty and failure. She auditions the classic Muses for guidance, but they are squeamish about worms. It is Buddha from Pool City who ends up presiding over all that transpires and intrudes in the garden, from cell phone Trauma Dramas to juvenile delinquent crows.
Cathie Desjardins is a lifelong literacy teacher and writer who has worked with all ages from kindergartners to graduate students. She has taught at UMass/Dartmouth, Suffolk University, UMass/Boston, Lesley University, and Cambridge, Boston and Arlington Adult Education centers, as well as Grub Street. Her first book of poems, With Child, (Tasora, 2008)is about life with a newborn. Her writing has been published in The Christian Science Monitor, Cognoscenti (WBUR’s online magazine), YANKEE magazine, Gravitas, Pulse, and numerous newspapers, periodicals and literary journals. She was selected as 2017-2019 Poet Laureate of Arlington MA.
“Ask me what it means, this time of year,” gardener-poet Cathie Desjardins writes near the beginning of her delightful new book, and answers with a colorful romp through the seasons that evokes the flora and occasional fauna that are the products of her labor as well as the subjects of her observation. A midway bonus gives voice to her plants, and to several “Grandes Dames” of literary gardening fame. But the writer-gardener the reader will remember best and most fondly is Desjardins herself.—Martha Collins, Poet
“Life, death, life again, in the garden. ‘Nothing can stop green’, Cathie Desjardins reminds us. Captured in paintings, drawings, photography, and poetry, it is a vision never forgotten. ‘Their beauty mirrors purity of mind.’ Life sings in the spring and is quiet in winter. Cathie Desjardins captures the essence of this in her beautiful poems. All nature is beautiful and, as John Keats writes, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty— that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ As human life witnesses plant rebirth, Buddha teaches us to appreciate nature and the gift in all its forms. Desjardins gives us that in all its glory, darkness, and light.” —Gloria Mindock, editor of Červená Barva Press, author of “I Wish Francisco Franco Would Love Me.”