Amy Barlow Liberatore… stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz

Category Archives: Gardening

Simple Summer Pleasures

simple things
seeing sunrise after a good night’s slumber
strrrrrretching to the tune of birdsong
Smell of Sumatran coffee, steaming and silky

A decent back scratch, administered by someone special
Some time in the garden amongst slinky, slimy worms and snickering birds (beaks full of seeds just strewn)
Sitting on the porch, swig of beer, clack of dominoes, sunset smiles

Snuggled on the couch, where in our house,
“Netflix and chill” means
watching an actual movie with the air conditioner on high

Sweet dreams, beautiful summer day
See you at sunrise

© 2019 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Beehat Baby Publishing

Thanks to Roger at ABC Wednesday for this prompt, the letter S. Was just out in the garden, surveying my new raised bed, built for me by Lex and our friend Stephanie. Will probably wax poetic about that little garden soon. Amy


Attention!  I did an OOPS!  Forgot to mention that this poem also appeared on the venerable blog, ABC Wednesday.  Thanks to Roger Green for pointing it out, and do follow the link over there to read dozens of posts – poetry, photography, family histories… anything about the letter “B.”  Thanks, Amy
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What do you say we take a day off from political rhetoric, especially from cracker Jacks packin’ their pistols in compensation (read yesterday’s comments if you doubt me!). Kim Nelson at Poets United said today, “A good poem feels vivid and visceral and close to the source.” She then challenged us to get close to the source, using flourishes of color and other details to help the poem bloom.

She also suggests we offer one another constructive ideas about how to dig even deeper for that detail, so I look forward to your comments! This is also on the borders of Imaginary Garden With Real Toads. Peace, Amy

Garden Bloomers and Bloopers

Hand in grimy glove, the garden game
Where woman meets Underground and
spies Resistance at every turn

On high, Frying Pan in the Sky flew off
(vacationing in Bermuda, warming
pink coral-shell sand, toasting tourists)

My sandals, cool blue cruisers, propel me
out the screen door (Squeak! It begs,
“Oil me, tend to me, love me too!”)

Horticultural not my forte; rather, my
pianissimo, yet with practice and practical advice,
I’m pure shovel, old wooden rake… and hoe.

A little brown Slimy slithers out to greet me,
kneads dense soil with time-honored intentions,
necessary cog in the nature machine of green

Rousting Brown-Eyed Susans, wilted into
Bruised-Eyed Brown Twigs; they’re sentenced
to the pile “where the worm never dies”

New, preening yellow slim thingamajigs
move into Susan’s former digs. I dig ’em.
Sprinkle ‘em. The rest sinks beneath my control

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil


Dig In

Dig in, both hands, deep, deeper
Packed clay soil meets tenacious space
and gloved pincers, break it all down
to accept gentle roots of Gerbers
Pink, Orange… a splattergasm of color

Heat beats down; the race is on
Toiling Angla in 3-digit sunscreen vs.
ungodly hot-air soup

Inside, peeling the layers of me
Step into cold shower
Ice fire, tingling triumph
Good work; better remedy

© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil

Poets United: Kim Nelson asked us to “tap the water table,” literally or metaphorically. Believe me when I say this garden, planted in the middle of July, was hard-won labor but worth every drop of sweat! Also at my literal garden, Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, in the margins (near the fence!).  Peace, Amy


First, a plug for my friend Dani’s site, My Heart’s Love Songs. I am honored to be the featured poet at her blog this week, and she speaks about the global community we are creating by interlinking our blogs. Thanks, Dani!

Always and Forever, Ironweed (dammit)

Our first spring here, a bit of garden space.
Colors came to every garden, save ours.
Only one flower – no crocuses, nor lilies,
nor tulips – but a massive bush of columbine.

Its flowers, sweet pink and yellow
Surveying the remainder: Weeds.
Carefully planted, cultivated weeds,
but who the hell cultivates weeds anyway?

Milkweed and the invasive monster
known as Ironweed, plus some grasses.
Friends took snippets, but what remained
was grief, plus my secret desire to torch it all.

I’m not hip to gardening, nor drawn to
communing with worms… so, with pretty new
red spade in hand (hey, at least I’m
fashionable), I delved into the muck.

Dug around, dug into, but never got under
the pernicious Ironweed. The stillness of
the evening shattered by my clatter, the
prying, the watering of clay dirt to loosen soil,

fingers fumbling, a botched surgery in an
intestinal mess that was the bowel of the weed,
until, YES! One last backbreaking tug – the
plant uprooted and I was on my ass, triumphant.

Attached to the weed’s butt, yam-like, marrowed
spurs of root, tangled as Kardashians in a mosh pit,
evil as Triffids – or those pods in the horror
movie that hatch your zombie replacement.

(Perhaps this is how the Tea Party started?)

Next day, peering out our kitchen window. Monica’s
birthday snapdragons, potted and hanging from
a shepherd’s hook; the lovely, swaying columbine;
fresh-planted herbs; two new begonias and…

an offshoot sprig of Ironweed, fully two feet
from the devil’s own plant I’d just dug up.
I s’pose my pod replicant can deal with this,
once it’s done growing the New Me in our basement.

© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Sunday Scribblings, “Always,”and for The Sunday Whirl: Secret, Colors, Window, Grief, Massive, Hips, Clatter, Marrow, Perhaps, Hand, Flower, Stillness, Crocuses.
Also at my poetic garden (which has no Ironweed), Poets United and at dverse Open Mic Night!