Books and gardens

My garden is a library, my books are flowerbeds.
When leafing through my books I find how flowers
in my garden are like poems. A few are buds,
in splash of color, shy, still sparked from hope;
they need my care and warmth of voice before
they bloom. But books are also thistles, thorned
unwanted, proud and wonderful in purpleness.
My garden bulbs are words, my garden is a place
for poesy and posies, for sense and sentences
and even in the winter I can hear a voice of violas.
Words can be like fir-trees, stern but comfort givers,
my shelter when the winds have teeth and claws,
My garden has a hermit’s cave with walls of books
and there I am alone librarian: I am gardener of
willows; I am the caretaker of growth and spelling.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
Marcus Tullius Cicero

Elsa Beskow Illustration

Elsa Beskow Illustration

Today Kim is hosting dVerse Poetics and ask for poetry about a garden. I thought about how a garden is a library and a library a garden. Join us at 9 PM CET.

November 15, 2016

38 responses to “Books and gardens

  1. I so agree with that quote, Björn, and in that respect I am blessed, with a wonderful wild garden (with willows), a personal library and my work as a volunteer at our local libraries. This is a gorgeous analogy and I particularly love the final lines:
    ‘My garden has a hermit’s cave with walls of books
    and there I am alone librarian: I am gardener of
    willows; I am the caretaker of growth and spelling.’

  2. I love how the garden is like a library and you are the caretaker of growth and spelling ~ Amazing metaphor and response ~ This is my favorite part:

    My garden bulbs are words, my garden is a place
    for poesy and posies, for sense and sentences
    and even in the winter I can hear a voice of violas.

  3. I love that your library is your garden! Such wonders in your garden. And yiu are the sole grower and curator of the spelling and willows…wonderful write for an excellent read and prompt.

  4. Smart rendition of a beautiful garden of words 🙂 it well..brings out the trained librarian, meticulous gardener and a wonderful caretaker 🙂

  5. I am gardener of willows;
    I am the caretaker of growth and spelling.

    How appropriately conjured of the noble relevance of writers and poets in the furtherance of creative writings

    Hank

  6. I really enjoyed this with vivid imagery I can relate to. These are my favorite lines:
    My garden bulbs are words, my garden is a place
    for poesy and posies, for sense and sentences
    and even in the winter I can hear a voice of violas.

  7. I love the contrast here:
    “A few are buds,
    in splash of color, shy, still sparked from hope;
    they need my care and warmth of voice before
    they bloom. But books are also thistles, thorned
    unwanted, proud and wonderful in purpleness.”

    This is exactly how a personal library should be, as long as the reader stretches his mind from one extreme to the other when choosing which pieces he wants to read. And really, that’s exactly what we should do.

  8. evidently the Muse often seeds your imagination and fills your shelves
    – super descriptions especially:
    “fir-trees, stern but comfort givers,
    my shelter when the winds have teeth and claws,”

  9. This is beautiful! It blends Cicero’s quote — which I have always loved — into one perfect ideal. I have been spending a lot of time in my garden this work and I am the one who is growing.

  10. How wonderful! How beautifully said! I think I love this best of anything you ever wrote!

  11. I like this whimsical depiction of words as plants in our gardens and how each type needs care specially suited for their best growth.

    As an unrelated aside, I also like how you included evergreens in your metaphorical garden. Part of Japanese gardening includes considerations for how it’s viewed in every season, so a well placed fir is a beautiful thing.

  12. Words can be like fir-trees, stern but comfort givers
    my shelter when the winds have teeth and claws

    Such a powerful write!❤️

  13. I think this is my favourite of your librarian poems. I love these lines:

    My garden bulbs are words, my garden is a place
    for poesy and posies, for sense and sentences

    and the wonderful: I am gardener of
    willows.

  14. You did well, Bjorn. Any line could use the interposition of library for garden or vice versa. I like the librarian position. I was waiting for the writer/planter and then the reader/admirer to show.
    ..

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