a series of moments


mint should never be driven
to grow taller than corn stalks.  still,
here it is, flowering higher than my forehead
and wide-leaved, still tasting of mint
though my neighbors call it yerba buena
& tell me to make tea, or bathe in it
because there is medicine mixed in the leaves.
mystical or not, i dry the plant carefully
& without heat, hung upside-down
to save the volatile oils
my skin carries casually from bruised stems
i should call stalks.

next to the mint, the sage seems small
though it is more bush than plant.  i use it for chicken
or pesto, or burning.  all herbs
grow impossibly tall in this valley, as if
they are fed milk at the full moon.  but they
aren’t–they grow tall in black glacier gravel soil
threaded with leaf mold–spelled simply by
gardening rituals of planting and hoping.

if there is mystery in herb growing
it is for me a series of moments;
the peace of planting,
the needling work of tending, or
satisfaction pressed into
frozen or dried preservation.

the names soothe with music that is spoken, or hummed
by bees visiting lemon balm, also called melissa for
whom it draws, and the other herbs:  rosemary,
basil, chervil, several thymes, dill, chives, parsley;
each name with a scent & memory etched just so
deep in the brain, unforgotten.

***at Dverse today, we are talking about solitude–the quiet moments in life, so I decided to write about my herbs/therapy :).  Hope you join us over there today!

English: A can of peppermint infusion. Deutsch...

English: A can of peppermint infusion. Deutsch: Eine Kanne Pfefferminztee von frischen Blättern. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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69 thoughts on “a series of moments

  1. I had no idea mint could grow as tall as corn. Amazing! I know most herbs do have some type of medicinal, healing or other purposes as well as cooking too. Yours sound really lovely. What has always fascinated me is, how did the first peoples ever discover what they could or, couldn’t eat because it would poison them. I guess it was who dares and doesn’t die, it’s okay. All fascinating, really. Loved this!

  2. there is def something to the planting for me that is spiritual and even solitude…entering ones hands into the dirt, you are together with nature but alone in yourself…and cool on your break down of those moments in planting…and the waiting too can be so alone as you wait….i like….

  3. This is beautiful. I think working with herbs or plants of any kind is the most beautiful kind of solitude. Your poem expresses well this love. My favorite herb is basil (also one of my dog’s names – LOL); and I am sad as the season is almost finished and I will have to rely on store-bought basil soon. You mentioned mint. I used to make a lot of toboule. Today not so much; but your mention of mint tweaked my memory…and I should make it again! A nice write, Susan.

  4. nephiriel

    oh i do the same thing… when i am way too agitated to do anything else, i go out a dig a little. the smell of the herbs and earth mixed… miracle cure.
    thank you for your wonderful words

  5. all herbs
    grow impossibly tall in this valley, as if
    they are fed milk at the full moon….love this…love herbs…i make tea from mint leaves – never used them in a bath though…i should def. try this..

  6. hedgewitch

    Every year my herb garden gets a little bigger, because of this peace and the gift of fragrance and taste it gives with so little effort. Your poem captures those feelings that drift up from the earth, into plants and into us, perfectly. Loved this Susan.

  7. This is nice Susan! We use raw mint to flavor hot spicy ‘soupy’ noodles.. Sometimes one just picks off leaf by leaf and munch with rice as a ‘salad’. There’s that special flavor! Nicely!


  8. Rhonda

    I’m with Trent on this one…I can smell the mint, taste it and I can feel that furry leaf between my fingers. Herb therapy indeed. We should listen more to that which we so easily pluck from the ground. Great SFAM

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