Mignonette

My father planted, every May,
    the same old mignonette.
He told me: That’s the only way
    you’re sure of what you’ll get.

You reap whatever crop you sow,
    so think, before you plant,
exactly what you want to grow,
    because a gardener can’t

pull out the seed in mid-July
    he sank in early June
or, looking at the evening sky,
    undo the afternoon.

Now that I’ve started gardening,
    I understand that all
the things I father in the spring
    I’ll gather in the fall.

I’ll make my bed and lie on it
    till autumn comes to plow
the garden under and commit
    the earth to earth. But now

I’ve seen the seeds my parents knew
    would gently germinate;
the dainty shoots my parents grew,
    sweet to anticipate;

the seedlings that my parents thinned,
    predictable as rain—
and I would rather sow the wind
    and reap a hurricane.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

John F. Kennedy’s austere brand of patriotism still shines.
John J. ConleySeptember 19, 2017
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to visit the Shrine of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sept. 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
A Colombian Jesuit reflects on the visit of Pope Francis to his country.
Esteban Morales Herrera, SJSeptember 19, 2017
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, talk while walking to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in July. Senate Republicans are planning a final, uphill push to erase President Barack Obama's health care law. But Democrats and their allies are going all-out to stop the drive. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
“The health of the American people is incredibly important...you just don’t railroad something through, something you’ve just whipped together in the last couple of weeks.”
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 19, 2017
The absurdity of "BoJack Horseman" offers an unrelenting, often devastating look into our own humanity.
Eve TushnetSeptember 19, 2017