Sunday, July 1, 2018

Poem: The To-Be-Read List

Reading and gardening are two of my favorite things. I like the way that books make me feel emotions, but I also enjoy the texture of dirt beneath my bare hands, the smell of recently watered tomato plants, the feel of the noonday sun on my face.

But I don’t get to garden very often because my family moves so much. It’s hard to plant something knowing you’re going to be leaving in a couple months, and the next tenants might just kill it. Or maybe I lived in an apartment, and I was limited to house plants. Either way, I try to make the most of my garden while I have it. I enjoy quiet afternoons where I can sit on the porch and just read a good book surrounded by my potted plants.

Should it be any surprise that when I wrote a poem about reading, plants sprung up in between the lines? Probably not.

The To-Be-Read List

Picking up my next book
is more random than I would
have planned.

Flowers bloom in their own time—
daffodils at the start of spring,
tulips near the middle,
and chrysanthemums signal the end
of the final growing season.

Yet the leaves of a book
spring up
of their own accord—
a snow-filled novel pops up in spring,
collections of summer poems warm me in winter,
and autumn stories mimic the trees outside.

When I plan to read a novel—
hooked by the blurb
or drawn by the cover—
I can never tell if or when it will happen
upon me
whether in the library or at the bookstore or online.
Maybe I cannot find it.
Maybe I cannot stop finding it,
and I forget I wanted it at all.

But when they come,
the flighting books—the annuals—
are here,
then gone.
And the perennials last like dandelions—
no matter how many times
somebody tries to dig them up,
they always come back.


Let’s chat! What did you think of the poem? Is your To-Be-Read List random or planned? What is something you might compare your reading habit to?

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