Watching the Grass Grow
in the late afternoon, I sit
on the front porch and watch
the grass grow.
look at me oddly,
when I ask if they
would like to join in.
I like to watch tiny gold flowers
in the horseweed open, or check the progress
of larkspur which volunteers and turns
our front yard into a meadow.
A carpet of Bermuda grass
is creeping across the yard inching out
St. Agustine where sun light is most relentless.
This year we set out potted tomato plants, peppers,
dill weed, basil and rosemary.
On the porch I keep potted plants—
mint, zinnia, a fern, succulents from Mother’s
house in Northern California which leap
from pot to pot, and spike to red blooms.
There is a flowering bush on each side of the porch
that attracts bees, butterflies and chameleons who drink
from small white bells in loud sunlight.
The old cat curls up in a laughing spot
next to the rosemary.
I told my sister the other day
I was trying to be more serene.
She asked what I was doing.
I told her I’d been watching
the grass grow.
"You can’t get much more
serene that that," she said.
Lady Bird Johnson died yesterday.
Local news ran a recent clip of her, outside the Wildflower Center,
telling reporters, "There has to be a place
in this world for joy, for beauty."
My first husband and I drove in to Texas on New Year's Day
in 1971. It was snowing. The car radio blared
a warning to beware of humanists sneaking into Texas
in the guise of social scientists. He was a social scientist,
but hardly subversive.
I, on the other hand,
grew more radical every time I read
the newspaper, or listened to the news.
The radio station I listened to was her station,
where Cactus Pryor hosted a morning radio show
that was hilarious.
I met Lady Bird Johnson thirty-some years
after I moved to Austin.
A friend introduced her to me while we were
standing in the reception line at a memorial service.
She said, "You are the poet who wrote
‘A Lap For Beverly’."
I said I was honored to meet her, and I was —
honored to hear the title of one of my poems spoken by her,
honored that she knew who I was, honored to share
a long friendship with Beverly Sheffield with her
and so many other people.
By then I’d grown to understand Viet-nam never had
her name on it —and wasn’t really her husband’s fault,
tho he might have ended it before it shut down
the Great Society he wanted to create.
I like to watch the grass grow.
None of us have been able to halt the
obscene violence the military industrial
complex requires in order to thrive,
most of us barely understand the outlines
of how it works.
Even so, there has to be time
in this world for joy, for beauty,
for watching the grass grow.
©Susan Bright, 2007
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
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* You Tube clip by Lisa J Parker